UHD Blu-ray sales grow, but overall video disc market remains in decline

Mike Wheatley

Sales of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs enjoyed their best-ever quarter in the three months ending July 2022, accounting for its largest share of the total video disc market to date. However, disc sales as a whole continue to decline.


Having surpassed the 10% milestone in late 2021, UHD Blu-ray has now achieved an 13.4% overall share of the video disc market at the end of the second quarter, up from 11.9% in the first quarter of the year.

That’s according to the latest data compiled by VideoScan/MediaPlayNews, which was collated by FlatPanels HD’s Yoeri Geutskens.

FlatPanelsHD said UHD Blu-ray and regular Blu-ray discs combined to account for almost 50% of the overall disc market in the U.S., with DVDs accounting for the rest of the sales. So it seems that UHD Blu-ray disc sales are growing at the expense of regular Blue-ray discs.

Even so, content producers will be well aware that the overall video disc market remains in decline, both in the U.S. and globally. Most telling is that the industry has not seen any kind of post-pandemic sales recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic notably delayed many new disc releases as a result of many theatrical releases being postponed or released on video streaming services instead.

Some analysts felt that the video disc market might rebound with theatrical releases now becoming standard again, but so far that doesn’t appear to have happened.

Total video disc sales have been in decline for years. In 2019, the industry generated $3.29 billion worth of sales, falling to $2.45 billion in 2020 and then again to $1.97 billion in 2021. It’s looking likely that sales will fall again this year, with the industry reporting that first quarter 2022 revenue was down 19% from one year earlier.

During his company’s second quarter earnings call earlier this month, Netflix co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings said the success of video streaming will likely result in the death of so-called “linear TV”, or traditional broadcast TV, within the next five years. What he didn’t touch on is that video streaming is also the likely culprit behind the decline of video disc sales.

With multiple video streaming providers these days all offering extensive catalogues of films and TV shows to watch, it’s clear that consumers these days feel less of a need to physically own a copy of certain movies. With the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and HBO, it’s possible to access almost any film instantly, from any device in any location. Given the convenience video streaming offers, it’s likely that video discs will ultimately be relegated to the status of niche, collector’s items - assuming movie makers don’t stop producing them altogether.