Originally Posted by Woochifer
That's because the industry is very protective and selective about the information that they release. The last comprehensive report I've seen that had a full disclosure breakdown of revenues by format came out more than two years ago, and it was something that Sony paid for.
The revenues from Blockbuster and Netflix are counted as rentals. Sales revenues only account for sell-through by end users.
It matters if you want a true apples-to-apples comparison. Just comparing Blu-ray to digital distribution is hardly that. If you want an apples-to-apples comparison, then you need to either compare all optical media vs digital distribution, or compare only Blu-ray vs HD digital distribution.
Like I said, optical formats are not exciting to tech writers. They're pining away for the digital/networked living room, and yet another optical disc format is not part of that world order. Article after article that I've read from PC World, CNET, Engadget, and other sites throw out one negative article after another about how Blu-ray's dying or Blu-ray's not going to make it past the next year or Blu-ray's no better than DVD, etc. Much of it presents little to no evidence, other than the writer's all-too-apparent biases towards streaming/downloading. And considering that these guys are tech writers, the articles also frequently display a surprising lack of knowledge about digital video in general (i.e., the errant claims of unconverted DVD being the same resolution as Blu-ray, not knowing that ANY 1080p HDTV will upconvert a 480p DVD signal to 1080p, etc.). They might know their way around computers, but their appreciation for consumer electronics is often lacking.
But, look at what happened (or hasn't happened) on the audio side. Despite every publication out there having already written the CD format's obituary and despite the iTunes Music Store having been online for more than six years already (the amount of time it took for the DVD to overtake VHS), the CD format still has a 65% market share. Downloading has been hyped to no end by the tech press and mainstream press alike, yet the supposedly dead CD format is still very much alive.
This is the same tunnel visioned view of the world that the tech press has -- that market trends and consumer behavior patterns do not matter because we're talking about digital tech. Indeed, digital technology is a big part of our everyday lives, but its adoption and integration into an average household is an evolutionary process that takes years. Whether a consumer electronics format is digital or analog, it doesn't matter. Consumers do not make lifestyle changes or fundamentally shift their spending habits overnight. They do not adopt new technologies just because the tech press is enamored with it and makes wild predictions about it (most of them are wrong anyway -- witness the hype that accompanied the dotcom boom/bust a decade ago).
Consider that 40% of U.S. households do not currently have broadband. That part of the market is already excluded from this digital future.
The fact of the matter is that Blu-ray's growth trajectory is not that far behind the DVD at a comparable juncture. This is not bad considering that HDTV penetration remains just under 50%. Remember that Blu-ray also had its own competition with HD-DVD, and that format war split the market for about a year and a half. Blu-ray has had full support from the studios for less than two years.
When you look at the growth of downloads and other online media, you need to consider what the actual competition is. I don't see Blu-ray and online media as inherently competing for the same market. Downloads and online media are primarily replacements and/or enhancements to PPV, movie rentals, and recorded TV programming. Who does this affect directly? It affects Blockbuster, the satellite and cable companies, Netflix (though they do their own streaming), and it reduces time spent with DVR recordings. Sell-through disc media is affected to some degree, but it's not a direct competitor like those other options.
And if you choose to compare disc media with digital distribution, it's not even close right now. The type of market shift needed for digital distribution to overtake disc media takes years, and I don't see anything in the market trends that would indicate this happening soon. We're talking about shifting of billions of dollars, and anyone who does consumer expenditure research will tell you that it does not happen overnight. Just because digital technology enables a market change to happen quickly, does not mean that consumers will behave accordingly. Overestimation of how much technological change consumers will tolerate in a short-time is what doomed most of the dotcoms, and anyone who bets on downloads and streaming taking over TV and movie viewing in short order will probably face a similarly rude awakening.