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BDA Blasts Harris Poll

6/26/2009 06:24:00 AM

The high-definition disc format war may be over, but the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) apparently is still defending its turf from the ghost of its dead and moldering rival.

On Thursday, the group issued a response to a recent Harris Interactive poll that found “lukewarm” demand for HD movie disc players in general, while showing stronger sales for the gone-but-not-forgotten HD DVD format than for Blu-ray Disc players in recent months.

Representatives from Harris had not returned requests for comment as this was posted.

The following is the official BDA statement on the Harris Poll report:

“As you may have seen, there has been some recent reporting on the results of a Harris Interactive survey that arrived at some highly questionable findings on the number of Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD players currently in U.S. households. By way of background, the recent Harris Interactive poll asked consumers whether they owned an HD DVD player, a Blu-ray Disc player, a PS3, etc.

“The survey has garnered some media attention despite the fact that, according to analyst groups that regularly track Blu-ray Disc hardware sales (as well as HD DVD sales before the format was pulled from the market), the survey results don’t square with the actual shipping and sales numbers.

“Given the grossly inaccurate results with respect to HD DVD sales (many times greater than those previously reported by the HD DVD group itself), and given that the sales-based numbers and the dramatic increase in Blu-ray Disc hardware and software sales clearly indicate that the format has in fact reached critical mass (surpassing even DVD penetration at the same point in DVD’s lifespan), we thought it important to take a moment to provide you with actual data based on manufacturers’ shipments and retail sales.

“The 2008 sales data and the latest 2009 projections from Adams Media Research are as follows:

“As of Dec. 31, 2008, 2.7 percent of U.S. TV homes had a Blu-ray Disc set top player, and by the end of 2009 that number will have grown to 6.2 percent of US TV homes (6.1 percent and 11.0 percent, respectively, of HDTV homes).

“As of Dec. 31, 2008, 5.6 percent of U.S. TV homes had a PS3, and by the end of 2009 that number will have grown to 10 percent of U.S. homes (12.5 percent and 17.6 percent, respectively, of HDTV homes).

“As of Dec. 31, 2008, 7.8 percent of U.S. TV homes had either a Blu-ray Disc set top player, a PS3 or both, and by the end of 2009 that number will have grown to 14.8 percent of U.S. TV homes (17.5 percent and 26 percent, respectively, of HDTV homes).

“As of Dec. 31, 2008 0.3 percent of U.S. TV homes had an HD DVD set top player, and by the end of 2009, that number will have shrunk to 0.2 percent of U.S. homes (0.7 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively, of HDTV homes).

“The estimates reported by Adams Media Research are based on its research into actual manufacturer shipments to retail and actual retail sales to consumers, and are significantly different than the survey-based numbers reported by Harris.

“In fact, the Harris numbers don’t even square with the numbers reported by the HD DVD Promotions Group toward the end of that format’s lifespan.

“As of the end of 2007, some 50 days before the announcement that the HD DVD format would be discontinued, the HD DVD Promotions Group was reporting set top sales of less than 1 million units….nowhere near the 9 percent of households that Harris claims based on its survey results.

“As for the discrepancy between the survey results and the actual data, Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research notes:

“ ‘‘The media industry has long known you can’t trust the average survey respondent to correctly identify the high-tech devices in their homes; this finding suggesting that HD DVD player penetration grew from 6 percent to 9 percent in the period since the Blu-ray victory in the format war simply can’t be right. Our research on shipments and retail sales of players suggests that some 340,000 homes had an HD-DVD player by the end of 2008 v. 3.1 million homes with a dedicated Blu-ray player, and 9 million homes with either a dedicated player, a PS3 or both. So far, despite the recession, sales this year put dedicated Blu-ray players on track to be in 7.2 million homes by year’s end, with the number of homes having a BD-Player, a PS3, or both growing to 17.1 million. Meanwhile, HD DVD machines are long gone from store shelves and household penetration is shrinking dramatically. By way of comparison to what had been the most successful format launch in consumer electronics history, at the same point in DVD’s lifespan (four years in, at the end of 2000), DVD-enabled homes (set-tops or game machines) numbered 13.7 million.’ ”

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