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Industry – UK

Country Focus: UK

Blu-ray helps video weather 2009 recession

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Thanks to a 123% rise in Blu-ray disc sales to 8.4 million units in 2009, compared to 2008, video home entertainment weathered the recession with December sales even rising by 1.8%, according to new figures released by the British Video Association (BVA).

The industry has, however, taken a dent thanks to retailers Woolworths and Zavvi shutting down. As BVA Director General Lavinia Carey says, “DVD sales are down 5.6% due to several factors, including the effects of copyright theft and the changing retail landscape. The loss of Woolworths’ and Zavvi’s 900-odd stores meant that the 13% market-share they jointly represented, worth around £300 million, has been slow to replace, particularly given the high propensity of Woolworths shoppers to buy on impulse.”

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Nevertheless, the BVA is optimistic about 2010 being a growth year. This is expected to come from the increasing digital market and from Blu-ray discs, as HD-ready TVs are forecast to rise from 58% of UK TV households in 2009 to 72% this year, boosted by HD TV coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in June.

Stand alone Blu-ray player sales rose 158% to the end of November, which the BVA estimates could bring total sales in 2009 to over 600,000 and Blu-ray discs accounted for 3.4% of total video sales.

Simon Heller, Blu-ray Partners Campaign Director of the BVA, said, “Bolt-on technology such as a Blu-ray player is a fraction of the cost of the HD-TV itself, yet it is only this that gives you the ultimate 1080p high-definition experience – with five times the picture quality – that your HD-TV is designed for. With hardware prices falling to the £100 mark, 2010 is the year to make the most of your home entertainment technology.”

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