Few Buy into the Next-Gen Movie Hype

Katherine Stevenson

Here we are, more than a year since the emergence of next-gen, high-definition players and drives, and there’s still so little momentum behind the movement that it’s almost comical. We know anecdotally how few computer users are actually buying high-def drives, and we haven’t received a single PC containing one, but now a report released by Sony provides actual numbers that illustrate the pathetic sales for commercial HD discs.

Granted, the report shows Sony’s Blu-ray in a favorable light relative to HD-DVD—otherwise, it’s unlikely to have been publicized—but the numbers are still very telling of a surprisingly low adoption rate. Based on data from an A.C. Nielsen VideoScan survey of disc sales, Sony’s report highlights the record sales of Casino Royale (a Blu-ray title) during the week of March 18. Yes, 28, 233 copies of the movie sold the first week of its release is impressive. Especially compared with the mere 3,000 or so sales of the number-two seller during the same time period, The Departed (on Blu-ray). The same movie on HD DVD takes up the number-five slot with 1,267 units sold. The eighth, ninth, and tenth best sellers that week don’t even hit 1,000! And if you scan the list of all next-gen disc releases, you find that only a very small handful even hit five figures within the first eight weeks of their release—the vast majority languishes below 5,000!

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