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Should The Adult Industry Bother With Blu-ray™?
You can read all the reports online, Blu-ray™ sales are on the rise. Video Business reported that sales were up 83%.
David Carnoy stated in his Blu-ray™ Sales Nearly Double From A Year Ago article that:
“With cheaper Blu-ray™ players on the way and a better slate of Blu-ray™ discs on tap for later this year, the format's future appears relatively bright. But detractors will surely point to the high price of Blu-ray™ discs, as well as improvements in digital downloads and streaming services as continued stumbling blocks.”
However, according to Gizmodo:
“at least half of those 11 million Blu-ray™ players are PS3s, which had a US install base of 5.7 million in December, meaning slightly less than half are standalone players. Nearly 75 percent of units are BD-Live compatible. Lopping off the 50 percent that are PS3s, that means roughly half of the standalone players in the US are BD-Live players, so they're relatively recent purchases.”
“Oh yeah, DVD? Five million players sold in the second quarter of 2009. As in three months ago.”
Tim Conneally reported in his Blu-ray™ sales skyrocket, provided you lower the sky article:
“Blu-ray™ sales for Disney's Wall-E, one of the format's most successful titles -- and one of which the Blu-ray™ Disc Association is quite proud -- represented only one-tenth of the title's net disc sales in March.”
So while sales of blu-ray™ players and discs are on the rise they are still no where near that of standard DVDs even though sales of those have been in a steady decline for a while now. Part of this is the consumer electronics industry's own fault. They were counting on consumers responding to blu-ray™ the way they did with the transition from VHS to DVD. Specifically people going out and replacing their old DVD libraries with the shiny new blu-ray™ versions. However, Disney's Bob Iger is now admitting “We have seen some but not as much as we would like”.
The reasons to not make that assumption should have been obvious from the outset. DVD had a clear advantage over it's VHS competition. When the salesman at the store put the DVD in the player you got a menu that loaded in seconds. It showed you not only the movie but all the extras that came along with it as well. You had chapters which let you jump to a certain section while on the VHS tape you had to hunt for it by starting and stopping the player. All while fitting on one bright shiny little disc what used to take two bulky VHS tapes. This is not even taking into account the better sound and picture quality you got from a DVD that even the most technologically unsophisticated of consumers could recognize.
Not so with the difference between blu-ray™ and DVD. Surveys are showing that the general public is still unaware of the blu-ray™ format. When you put a blu-ray™ movie on one HDTV and the same movie on DVD playing next to it a good portion of your consumers can't readily pick out the difference. Even when they do most attribute that change to the HDTV not the disc itself.
What the consumer's can tell about the blu-ray™ players is that they are more expensive then their DVD counterparts and tend to be noticeably slower. This is due to the sheer amount of information the machine is trying to access but your average consumer does not make that connection. They only see a more expensive machine that is “slower”.
As for the blu-ray™ discs, the companies (adult and mainstream alike) have priced themselves out of the market. What is apparent in consumer surveys is that the difference in quality between the two discs is not the driving factor in a consumers decision. It is what they are getting for their money. They are not perceiving the fact that the blu-ray™ disc has better sound and picture as being sufficient justification to spend the extra $10-$20. What they want to see is extras on one that you do not get on the other.
While Sony responded to this by creating BD-Live and other features that interact over the internet the adult community remained relatively silent with little or no difference between their blu-ray™ and DVD releases.
The one new feature for both blu-ray™ and DVDs that is catching is the digital copy. Industry analysts are saying they see an increase in consumers utilization with each successive release. Mainly attributed to the surge in smart phone utilization where people want to take their purchases with them with a minimum amount of effort and the emergence of digital players (like the Apple TV) that hook up directly to your HDTV.
It is time for the adult industry to take notice that the traditional model of movie distribution will be a thing of the past in the next decade. Consumers will have entirely digital entertainment centers that connect their HDTV's and computers into one seamless system. With this they will demand the ability to access all of their content not by putting in a disc but by selecting it from a menu.
The adult version of a digital copy though has only appeared on two titles that I know of (Fallen and The Wicked - Both from Wicked Pictures) which means instead of leading the revolutions in technology for consumer delivery the adult industry in now in a position where they have to catch up.
Placing digital copies on your Blu-ray™ discs make your blu-ray™ sales off set your DVD sales decline? Probably not, but it will give your consumers a reason to embrace the new format and help set you up for what many analysis are saying is the next wave in home entertainment. The purely digital entertainment system which utilizes no discs.
While there is some benefit to the adult industry when it comes to releaseing movies in the Blu-ray™ format it is quickly becoming apparent there is no real reason to go back and do your older titles. Plus is also becoming clear that at least for the time being the cost of putting out every title you produce on blu-ray™ will not be made up by your sales.
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