2011 State of the Disc Economy
Much has been said about the demise of physical media. (See “Businesses Embrace CDs and DVDs” from August, 2010 for more.) With the wrap up of this year’s CES and last fall’s ESCA EDGE Europe, the discussion continues unabated.
New products and technologies continue to evolve. CES seemed to have an influx of portable devices challenging the iPad, Kindle and others. Then there is the explosion of 3D as the latest in home entertainment. How many of us over the age of 30 ever thought we’d see 3D in our homes? Sure, the occasional movie theater experience was fun (who else remembers Jaws 3D???), but until the emergence of recent blockbuster 3D films, I certainly never dreamed it would be available for in-home entertainment. How far out it is from true market saturation remains to be seen, but it may be getting closer. Sony even announced its new 3D camcorder for consumers. Now you can record your child’s soccer game and play it back in 3D (asssuming you have the appropriate HDTV and 3D glasses that is).
Yes, the industry keeps changing and new technologies evolve and are adapted faster than ever. Digital delivery is opening new doors (or is that portals?) with iTunes and NetFlix leading the consumer charge. With industry giants gathering together to introduce the new Ultraviolet platform, digital downloads may even be more user friendly, with the ability to view programs on multiple devices.
While CD and DVD sales are inevitably declining in the wake of these new technologies, there is still a call for packaged discs. As Digital2Disc reported in their last issue of 2010, 98.4% of singles were sold digitally in the U.K. in the past six years, but 85% of album sales were physical. Likewise, DVD intelligence reports that retail DVD sales remained the most popular way to watch video in 2010, capturing 73% of the market.
Call it laziness, resistance to change or whatever else you prefer…but I, for one, still love the excitement of buying a new CD. Ripping off the polywrap and opening the case. Perusing the liner notes before popping the disc into my car’s CD player. I look forward to hearing new songs by my favorite artists not released as singles. Some of my all time favorite tunes were discovered that way. I own an iPod, an iPhone and an iPad, yet I have never downloaded a song. Someday I will, but what will I miss out on when making the switch? Time off is precious to me, so when I do go to download, I will search for what I want without taking the time to browse through other available titles; thus, negating my chances of finding that next un-released favorite. I much prefer to be a passive listener in my car, allowing the music to come to me.
So for those of us who have not fully embraced the digital domination, Disc, Inc. will continue to offer duplicated and replicated discs for your enjoyment. Fully packaged CDs and DVDs complete with inserts, tray cards, paper covers, sleeves, whatever your heart desires.
Oh…and by the way….I still like going to the video store, too. When I can find one, that is.