by Pravin on Thursday, January 24th, 2008 in news.
I’ve referred to the smack talking against HD DVD as the “flavor of the month” before, and the most recent example of this has been fueled by leaked sales statistics from the NPD suggesting that Blu-ray players have a near complete hold of the market. In general, the NPD numbers are reported for longer periods of time like a month or quarter so that sales blips caused by special promotions don’t generate sensational news. In this particular case, someone with access to the weekly data leaked the information out, and everyone subscribing to the flavor of the month plan has fallen for the bait.
If you look closely at the numbers being reported, Blu-ray players saw an increase in sales by almost 4,000 units than the week before, while HD DVD players took a big nose dive. The HD DVD dip is not good news, but did these new Blu-ray sales come at the expense of HD DVD player sales? I’m sure many did simply because a person is either going to buy one or the other kind of player, but here’s more illuminating information released by Toshiba spokespeople just a short while ago:
As you may have seen, there are attempts being made to portray NPD’s weekly sales tracking figures for next generation DVD as a trend. We want to remind you and make clear that it is not accurate to make long term assumptions based on one week of sales – a cautionary point that NPD has made as well. The facts are that during the week that is being singled out, both Blu-ray disc players and software were being given away for free with the purchase of 1080p TVs. It is also important to note that the instant rebate promotions that had previously netted Toshiba’s players’ MSRP’s to $199 and $249 had actually ended on Jan. 5th – causing an increase in HD DVD’s MSRP back to $299 and $399 during that same week. Since Toshiba’s retail price move on Jan. 13th to $149 / $199 – Toshiba is seeing very positive sales trends at retail. This reinforces the fact that price is a significant driver of sales.
In other words, wait for more NPD reports and take a look at the bigger sales trends instead of weekly blips. Even NPD agrees.
Toshiba’s assertion is that consumers are cost-conscious and respond to sales and freebies. Hobbyists may be less price sensitive, but the general population is not, and they’re responding favorably to the HD DVD player price cuts.
In the weeks that Amazon, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc. have had their two-for-one movie deals or player promotions, the corresponding HD DVD products have done really well. When those sales end, consumer buying habits return to normal. In the several months that I’ve been monitoring movie and player deals at this blog (which you can verify by going through the archives), the two-for-one movie deals only started around December, and HD DVD sales numbers did exceedingly well during those promotions. If one was to pick only those weeks of good news to report about HD DVD, then it’d be easy to say that Blu-ray was being trounced.
In the end, this is what the format war is all about. Numbers and statements go flying left and right, with each side able to figure out a way to show how they’re making a difference. Anybody who thought it was over can now be reassured that there’s still more coming.