DVD Sales Decline

DVD movie sales are declining, and were actually less than movie theater box office totals in the United States in 2009 — about $10 billion in box office compared to about $9 billion in combined DVD and Blu-ray sales. Box office receipts were up from 2008, largely reflecting higher ticket prices. There are several reasons for the decline in DVD sales.

The movie industry points first to an increase in movie rentals, which cost as little as $1 at some kiosks and vending machines. Shelf space is probably also a factor in movie sales, as most movie fans already have shelves full of DVD movies that they don’t have time to watch, and this makes it harder to justify buying more. Lower prices for some DVD movies also cut into sales revenue.

Another factor that is harder to quantify is the perceived obsolescence of the DVD format as movie fans wait for Blu-ray to catch on, or for Blu-ray prices to fall. Why buy the DVD now if the Blu-ray may be available for about the same price in a year or two? Formats in conflict have made consumers hesitate in the past, and that may be happening again now.

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