In 2009, Blu-ray title prices have declined rapidly and the pricing gap is narrowing, according to Futuresource Consulting’s price tracking service. The service shows that in February the average Blu-ray price for new release movies in the UK was £27.29. By the beginning of August this had dropped to £16.74 – a sizeable decline of 40%.
Catalogue pricing has also fallen, but not by such a significant amount. From an average price of £16.87 in February, this dropped to £14.25 in August; representing a decline of 15%. When looking at the average catalogue price across the three largest etailers, (Amazon, Play and HMV), the price drop is far more significant, with the average catalogue price hitting £11.22.
Back in Q4 2008, both in the USA and the UK the premium for purchasing a new release title on Blu-ray compared to DVD was between 30% and 80%. However, for catalogue BD titles this premium was considerably higher, and in some instances was as much as 300%. Although it has never been disputed that consumers will pay more for Blu-ray, the premium in the market in 2008 was clearly not sustainable.
“Pricing is becoming an increasing area of focus for Blu-ray,” says Alison Casey, Head of Global Content at Futuresource Consulting. “Although a number of new BD releases are beginning to achieve healthy sales volumes, catalogue titles continue to disappoint. The retail price of Blu-ray titles, particularly when compared to DVD, is a key factor in holding back sales. Research shows that Blu-ray player owners are making a value judgement call when deciding whether or not to pay the Blu-ray premium; often continuing to buy some titles in standard definition.”
To help companies develop more robust pricing strategies for both DVD and Blu-ray, Futuresource has launched a weekly retail price tracking service. The service captures retail prices across all DVD and Blu-ray titles from 40 online retailers. The service is currently available in the UK but Futuresource is in the process of rolling it out to other international territories.