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Friday, August 29, 2008
Blu-ray Disc Approaches 'Tipping Point' in Drive to Enter European Mainstream Markets

"In Europe, Blu-ray Disc is fast approaching a critical mass of users which will provide the platform needed to propel the format into the consumer mainstream markets," said Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) at IFA.

BDA's European Promotions Committee Chairman Frank Simonis gave an update on the Blu-ray market in Europe at a press conference on the eve of the opening of the IFA consumer electronics exhibition in Berlin.

"The fourth quarter of this year will see rapid growth in sales of every BD category from CE hardware to PC systems, movies, music and computer games," Simonis added.

The BDA?s upbeat appraisal comes against a background of strong sales forecasts from Europe?s leading media industry analyst houses. UKbased FutureSource Consulting predicts that close to 12 million Blu-ray Discs will be sold in Europe this year, accounting for around 2 per cent of video sales volumes in lead markets such as UK and France. FutureSource also predicts that Blu-ray?s share of the European market will grow exponentially next year, accounting for up to six per cent of video sales volumes.

Market indicators show that this strong growth in sales throughout Europe will be driven by a growing awareness of the format, an increased choice in player devices from a large number of manufacturers, a rapidly increasing catalogue of Blu-ray titles from major studios, leading independents and also a growing number of music companies, and by falling prices in the main European markets.

By 2012 Blu-ray Discs are forecast to have reduced in price to ?15.78 in Europe, contributing to a European BD market predicted of around 240 million units.

"All the building blocks are in place and we are prepared for strong and rapid response from consumers when they see the rich diversity of Blu-ray products coming to market in Europe ? many of which will be debuted here at IFA," explained Simonis. "Perhaps one of the final pieces in the jigsaw is to encourage more retailers to back Blu-ray ? to give it prominence in their stores and to help raise awareness amongst a consumer market that responds favourably whenever introduced to this exciting new home entertainment technology."

"This Christmas, a Blu-ray Disc player is the perfect gift for the rapidly growing base of HDTV owners in Europe," enthused Simonis. "It?s relatively low cost (compared to the price of the HDTV) and it provides just what your HDTV needs ?the single best source of superb High Definition pictures and sound in your home."

Content is king, and many of the major Hollywood studios reinforced the BDA?s optimistic forecasts at IFA by providing an insight of their own Blu-ray strategies at IFA.

Gordon Ho, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment (WDSHE) comments, "The landscape for Blu-ray for the 4th quarter looks to be very healthy. With strong retail commitment, a robust launch of hardware products and an exciting slate of title releases, consumers are being offered the perfect opportunity to reinvent their home entertainment experience, and we are expecting Blu-ray growth to be on par with our expectations."

"We are excited to announce a magical slate of Platinum titles for the first time on Blu-ray high definition, this celebrated Collection of animated features includes some of Disney?s most beloved classics, and demonstrates Disney?s commitment delivering great content, that will enrich and deepen the consumer experience," concludes Gordon Ho.

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