This year marked DVD-Video's foray into the mass market. At the onset of the all-important fourth quarter, the industry shipped its 10 millionth DVD-Video player in North America.
Surpassing all other consumer electronics products, DVD-Video met this milestone faster than any other product. And, all indications point to an even bigger fourth quarter, as we near the shipping of the 30 millionth DVD-Video player on a worldwide basis.
At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, the question is not whether DVD will continue to be our industry's golden child, but just how dominant it will be in the home entertainment arena.
Why is DVD-Video such a success? Because consumers all agree DVD is a fabulous, welcome product. It provides improved video and enhanced sound, and brings the consumer into the Hollywood experience.
Content providers are also aggressively adding exciting features to their titles to satisfy consumers' insatiable appetite for value-added content.
Thanks to the CD, consumers were predisposed to the sexy 5-inch disc and were quick to embrace the new digital carrier for bringing movies and music videos into the home theater. In fact, consumers have accepted DVD-Video four times as fast as the CD and 13 times faster than the VCR.
We believe that DVD-Video's incredible acceptance rate is a credit to the strength of the marketing support provided by the DVD Entertainment Group.
The DVD Entertainment Group was formed in spring 1997 when the format launched. Our members include the leading CE manufacturers, major motion-picture studios, music companies and post-production facilities associated with DVD-Video.
Now 50-plus member companies strong and representing about 95 percent of the market, we provide education tools to increase consumer awareness, distribute collateral materials for the trade, participate at key trade shows, and provide a forum for members to share new information. We pride ourselves on maintaining a consistent and open dialogue with the media. We strive to keep an ongoing channel of communication to notify the trade and the media of DVD's record-setting milestones.
Last year at CES, we began the transition of our group by announcing a new name that reflects our expanded efforts to support the launch of DVD-Audio. With this change, many audio manufacturers and music companies joined the DVD Entertainment Group. This past year, members of the DVD Entertainment Group have been busy preparing for the launch of the DVD-Video/Audio combination players and DVD-Audio titles.
Our members have been focused on introducing the trade to this exciting new music carrier. The group offered demonstrations at well-attended shows, including NARM, IRMA, PARA and the DVD Forum, and to leading engineers and producers in Nashville.
The group also produced collateral materials educating retailers and consumers about the benefits of DVD-Audio. We have a four-color brochure that clearly highlights the how and why of DVD-Audio. The brochure is available through our website (dvdinformation.com) and at selected retail outlets.
The DVD Entertainment Group's DVD-Audio Committee is also hard at work creating a partnership between the hardware manufacturers and the music companies. They are combining forces to create a unified marketing front to help bring the format to retail. We know this will help DVD-Audio to become successful in the future.
Leading consumer electronics manufacturers are announcing plans to market DVD-Video/Audio combination players. In fact, DVD-Audio will be one of the buzzwords at this show.
The DVD Entertainment Group is dedicated to advancing consumer awareness for all of the aspects of this popular digital entertainment medium we affectionately call DVD. We look forward to next year's CES when we can toast again DVD, the consumers' new favorite packaged media carrier.
Rusty Osterstock is Panasonic DVD and home audio products general manager and a board member of the, DVD Entertainment Group, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit association funded by the industry to promote consumer awareness of the benefits of DVD-Video and DVD-Audio. As part of the group'S charter, it also looks to incorporate future applications for the DVD format such as interactive games.