Where Have All The Blu-rays Gone?
Since the February collapse of the HD-DVD format, Blu-ray fans were immediately energised that the lack of a competing format would lead to a far larger slate of Blu-ray movies entering the market. Fast forward three months and in the last month alone we have had a paltry 10 releases, with all bar one being a catalogue release. In the same time frame, we have seen almost 200 DVD's released.
Clearly, we are still waiting for the 'big bang' of releases. But it's certainly not a great advertisement for a format that has promised much and thus far not totally delivered, on either quality or quantity.
Overseas, we have seen a lot of Blu-ray talk of late. Former HD-DVD heavyweights Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures have now aligned (or re-aligned, as the case may be) with the Blu-ray Disc Association and have committed to releasing Blu-ray products in the very near future. In Australia, Universal remain quiet on Blu-ray support, albeit with the promise it is coming, and Paramount have just announced four titles for release on the 31st of July. But apart from that, the release schedule is still looking rather gaunt.
So why is this? Despite the colossal amount of PlayStation 3 units that have Trojan horsed themselves into Australian homes, Blu-ray disc sales are generally low. Of course, it's a catch 22. They are struggling to sell because of general lack of content, and distributors (especially locally) are generally wary of releasing because they aren't selling a fraction of the numbers their DVD counterparts are. Australian retailers such as EzyDVD and JB Hi-fi are offering deals such as 'buy two get one free' in the hope of sustaining sales momentum, but are doing little to advertise them. JB Hi-Fi have been especially good at advertising Blu-ray hardware (no doubt spurned by player manufacturers themselves), but have committed little or no space in the last few monthly catalogues I have seen.