Movies in the Blu-ray format have outsold the rival HD DVD standard in Europe this year, breaking the 1 million barrier and constituting 73 percent of all HD movie discs sold, the Blu-ray Disc Association claims.
Citing industry sales data, the Blu-ray disc association said in a statement on Tuesday Blu-ray movie disc sales had topped 1 million units and when counting Blu-ray gaming discs the total number produced for sale in Europe exceeded 21 million units.
Of the high definition movie discs bought by consumers so far this year in Europe, 73 percent were in the Blu-ray Disc format and 27 percent were HD DVD, according to sales data provided by Media Control Gfk International.
Blu-ray said the best selling titles were 300, Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
The BDA also recently announced that the Blu-ray format dominates the recorder market in Japan, holding a 97% share, citing figures from the week to 12 November, and cover sales of next-generation machines capable of recording HDTV.
While both high-def formats are currently trying to gain popularity in the the European market, sales on the U.S. market are considered to be more significant for both Toshiba and Sony. The Home Media Research said in October Blu-ray Disc DVD titles had outsold rival HD-DVD titles by almost two-to-one in the first nine months of the year in the United States. However, the situation seems to changed one month later, when big retailers started to compete each other offering HD DVD players at lower prices. In late October Walmart, Circuit City and Amazon lowered the price tag for Toshiba's HD-A2 HD-DVD player to $198 triggering surges in consumer talk, with notable advantage to HD-DVD.
Immediately thereafter, on November 1st, Walmart and Best Buy announced special sales promotion initiatives that dropped the price to $99. This time consumer resonance on HD-DVD rocketed leaving Blu-Ray far behind, possibly for the first time in a year. Today, the North American HD DVD Promotional Group announced that sales of dedicated HD DVD players exceeded the 750,000 mark, following the Black Friday promotions through major retail chains. The data includes standalone set-top players as well as the Xbox 360 HD DVD player.
So far, it seems that price-based leverages delivered better competitive differentiation than content-based leverages, at least in terms of consumer engagement. Significant price cuts could drive consumer action.