ST. JULIAN’S, MALTA – Paul Gray, principal analyst and researcher of IHS, made two startling predictions that could have long-term consequences for TV and Blu-ray retailing.
His predictions came during a presentation at the IFA Global Press Conference, attended by nearly 400 media representatives from 55 countries late last month in this scenic Mediterranean coast town.
According to Gray, by 2018, all (Gray’s emphasis) 50-inch and larger TVs will be 4K, and the disc business in Europe has collapsed, threatening to take the Blu-ray player market with it.
As Gray noted, it’s becoming impossible to find large-screen 1080p sets in Japanese retail stores and DVD or Blu-ray discs anywhere in Europe other than in impulse-buy point-of-sale displays in supermarkets.
Gray based his 50-inch-plus 4K UHD assertion primarily on the growing larger-TV buying habits by consumers worldwide; by 2016, GfK projected 50- inch and larger sets will account for 21 percent of all flat TV sales.
The collapse of the European DVD and Blu-ray disc business, Gray noted, is caused not only by increased sales of smart streaming TVs, which will reach 41 percent of all TVs this year according to GfK, but on Hollywood studios de-emphasizing disc distribution. This Hollywood physical distribution pullback “may actually contribute to further decline for the physical platform” more than streaming, Gray said. “Whenever a studio retracts from a market, it has the effect of sending the message to retail partners that physical, as a distribution platform, is being abandoned — and this has knock-on effects throughout the physical distribution chain.”
How the collapse of the European disc market will effect the success of coming 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players worldwide is a question of debate, but can’t be good news.