A research report this morning from The NPD Group confirms the prevailing narrative that the home video business is in trouble — although you might miss that if you just look at the upbeat headline on its release: “Consumers Still Positive On Blu-ray.” NPD found that 116 million adults bought a DVD or Blu-ray disc in the six months ending in March, down 9.4% from the same period last year. The firm says Hollywood studios are partly to blame. They released weaker titles in early 2011 vs the same period in 2010. Even so, analyst Russ Crupnick says that “the physical video-disc market was a bit disappointing.” It shows that “Blu-ray may not be the replacement for DVD that many once hoped for.” NPD played up the fact that 15% of all consumers used a Blu-ray player in the six month period, up from 9% last year. And 22% of all disc buyers bought at least one Blu-ray title. Are consumers warming to the format because of its sharp images and extra features? Crupnick says that’s part of the story: “The fact that prices are now within the budgetary range acceptable to rank-and-file consumers is helping to bolster the overall value proposition of the Blu-ray format,” he says. But 57% of adults still used a standard DVD player, same as in 2010.
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