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Looks like all the "Blu-Ray will fail" articles were... a little premature.





Abba cheers us up this Christmas!

31 December 2008 - New figures released today by the British Video Association, using data provided by the Official Charts Company, show that the home entertainment market is alive and kicking, despite difficult trading conditions across the entire retail sector. The surge in sales of Blu-ray discs was driven by a strong performance throughout the year, credit crunch notwithstanding. Blu-ray disc sales hit a new high in the run-up to Christmas; 1.5 million discs were sold in December alone, up almost 400% against the same period in 2007. In total the format has sold 3.7 million units in 2008, demonstrating the public’s enthusiasm for high quality picture and sound in the home.

Dark Knight (Warner Home Video) has taken the crown for best selling Blu-ray title of the year with 281,000 copies sold (including sales of the box set with Batman Begins) on the high definition format in just three weeks. Released in early December it became the best-selling Blu-ray title in history, selling more copies on Blu-ray in its first full week (178,000 copies including Batman Begins box-set) in the shops than any other movie ever released on the format. 

While Blu-ray has increasingly established its position as the number one choice of next generation of home entertainment, DVDs have also enjoyed a solid year. Mamma Mia! - The Movie (Universal Pictures) officially became the UK’s fastest-selling DVD in history, achieving sales of 3.1 million in its first full week in the shops, and 5.1 million by the end of 2008. This is an unprecedented performance by a title with just five weeks on sale. While specific figures are not available, the title was heavily pre-ordered months before release to ensure no one missed out on the Abba magic for Christmas!

Lavinia Carey, Director General of the British Video Association, says: “The growth in disc sales throughout 2008 reveals that the home entertainment market is showing resilience in a difficult economic climate. The demise of EUK and Woolworths had a significant impact on pre-Christmas trading and the news since Christmas of Zavvi going into administration is a consequence of EUK going down. But we are not surprised that home entertainment is generally bearing up well; as people tighten their belts, many have rejected more extravagant outings in favour of a cosy evening at home with their favourite titles. We expect the growth of Blu-ray to continue in 2009 on the back of strong releases such as Quantum of Solace, Tropic Thunder and The Duchess.”

Looking forward to 2009, Screen Digest predicts Blu-ray disc sales will rise to 17 million units over the next 12 months, accounting seven per cent of the total disc market whilst DVD will remain popular with 241 million discs being bought by the British Public.

Helen Davis Jayalath, Head of Video at Screen Digest, adds: “DVD volume sales outpaced those of 2007 for much of the year in spite of the impending recession; even when faced with major supply chain issues in December, consumers simply bought the titles they wanted elsewhere. Although the economic climate means that Blu-ray will now take longer to achieve mass market status, demand is building for the Hi-Def discs. Meanwhile, the key challenges facing the industry in 2009 are managing the financial and inventory fallout from the loss of EUK at the same time as promoting video as an attractive and affordable entertainment option for cash-strapped consumers.”

Notes to Editors 

The Children’s DVD market has had a successful 2008, in which the best selling title was Disney’s Ratatouille, selling well over 1.5 million copies. It was notable that the pre-school market was up 6% compared with 2007, as brands such as Thomas and Friends, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam (Hit Entertainment) proved particularly popular, with the sub-genre selling 4.7 million copies. The Horrid Henry releases (Abbey Home Entertainment), which have sold over 155,000 copies in 2008, continue to grow with series two in production, a live stage show and further successful merchandise being produced. .

Lee Evans – Big – Live at the 02 (Universal Pictures), was the best selling Special Interest title of the year. With just five weeks on sale it ended the year with over a million copies bought. In the TV genre, Fox’s Family Guy took the first and second slots; Blue Harvest sold 442,000 copies in 2008, making it the most successful TV comedy title of the year. 

Sport and Fitness titles were topped by Natalie Cassidy's Then & Now Workout from Universal, which sold over 200,000 copies in 2008. Meanwhile, the Music genre has seen Take That’s Reunion (Universal Music) prove very successful when their Beautiful World Live release became the best selling music video of the year with sales of 160,000 copies. 

The horror genre was boosted by the release of Elevation’s Saw V – a further instalment in the most successful horror franchise ever. Almost 500,000 copies have been sold in 2008 including 78,000 as part of the Saw Quadrilogy. Note however, that Cloverfield from Paramount was the best selling horror title of 2008 with sales of 674,000. Old favourites such as The Shawshank Redemption (ITV DVD) reached sales to date of over 5 million – with more than 300,000 copies sold in 2008 - 1 in 5 households now own a copy of the film.