Blu-ray Is Nearly Dead In The Water

The Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) has released its market data for 2014. In a trend that will surprise few Lifehacker readers, physical disc sales continue to dwindle. What’s more surprising is that the decline was roughly identical in the Blu-ray (BD) and DVD categories. Could the era of Full HD physical media be almost over?

The AHEDA’s latest report card paints a pretty bleak picture for the future of Australia’s home entertainment market; at least where physical media is concerned. DVD and Bly-ray disc sales totaled $951,330,000 in 2014. While still a huge number, this is a decline of 10 per cent compared to 2013.

According to AHEDA’s data, there was no difference in the rate of decline between DVD and BD sales. In other words, Blu-ray penetration, which currently sits at just 16 per cent, is unlikely to climb much higher if sales continue to follow the same pattern.

Catalogue/old movies saw the biggest decline, with sales down by 16 per cent compared to 2013. New release movies also fared poorly, with a drop of 7 per cent. TV series fared a bit better, with a decline of just 2 per cent.

The report wasn’t all doom and gloom though: Digital media continues to grow at a healthy rate. As at the end of October 2014, video on demand (VoD) and electronic sell-through (EST) sales had increased by 11 per cent.

The split between VoD and EST in Australian remains around 50/50 with EST movies showing the strongest growth (26 per cent between January and October, 2014). Digital home entertainment sales are expected to hit a record $163.5 million by the end of this financial year.

The AHEDA also revealed the best-selling Blu-rays and DVDs for 2014. The top seller was Disney’s Frozen (surprise, surprise) followed by The Lego Movie, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Game Of Thrones Season 3. You can see the full top 20 in the table below:

As you can see, last year’s sales chart was completely dominated by children’s movies, super hero flicks and Game Of Thrones which appeared not once, but twice. It would seem Australia’s (alleged) rampant piracy of that show hasn’t stopped us from snapping up the DVDs.

Do you still buy movies and TV shows on physical media? If you’ve made the switch to digital what services and file formats do you use? Let us know in the comments.

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