back to article UK DVD sales plunge...

Britons may be turning away from the DVD, but Blu-Ray Disc isn't replacing the decade-old format in consumers' affections. The British Video Association (BVA) this week said DVD sales in the UK during the first six months of 2009 were down 9.5 per cent by volume - and considerably more than that by value - compared to the …


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  1. eJ2095

    Its a wonder

    BVA said "The BVA said that the recession was a key factor in the decline"

    Amazed they ay said its down to piracy etc etc

  2. Subban

    So how long until....

    The obligatory "Piracy is killing DVD sales" outburst rfom the relevant media companies.... totally ignoring the recession we are in ofc.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Am I the only person to refuse to buy DVDs as I'm forced to sit and watch stupid copyright messages and adverts/previews before being able to watch what I've paid for? I realise that many DVD players ignore such restrictions and allow users to skip mandatory content, but it is illustrative of how the industry is alienating its customers.

  4. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    No surprise

    I'm not going to buy DVDs, as it's obvious that the industry is trying to make them obselete by promoting Blu-Ray.

    I'm not going to buy Blu-Ray, as I have no interest in high definition.

    I am waiting for the industry to get their act together and provide a decent universal download / watch online service.

    In the meantime, I'll stick to iTunes, the BBC iPlayer and nefarious alternatives, which are convenient and efficient alternatives.

  5. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)


    No, surprisingly perhaps, they didn't launch a tirade against Torrents.

    “People must also be increasingly tempted to search out methods of downloading illicit content for free on the Internet," was all they said.

  6. Goatan

    Make movies worth buying

    If Hollywood made movies worth buying there wouldn't really be this problem. I don't think there have been many good movies in the last decade. I could certainly count them one hand.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to buy cheap DVDs in the supermarket... I use a couple of the online rental-by-post services. Much more convenient. How are DVD rentals doing?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: DVD

    You are not alone.

  9. The Metal Cod

    Won't Be Long

    Until some media company blames it on piracy, as well as blaming everything else on piracy - the credit crunch, England's 5-0 hammering against the Aussies last tour down under, ebola, HIV, POt Noodle....

    I'm not buying DVDs because there's nothing out there I want to buy on DVD and because money is tight. And if the industry thinks I'm buying anything Blu-Ray then it can kiss my pale hairy (and slightly explosive) backside.

    Grenade because last night's Quorn has had unpleasant side effects

  10. serviceWithASmile

    @Anonymous Coward

    No, you aren't. And I agree.

    Try googling VLC player for Pc (its on the repositories for ubuntu, theres a windows distro too) as I have managed to skip through a few mandatory copyright BS notices with it before.

    I don't think the industry will ever stop victimising its customers, the games industry included here.

    There is a mistaken belief, it seems, that someone who pays for a copy of something from them should be made to sit through "you are a criminal you naughty pirate you, and we will sue your whole family now" every time they watch their legal copy.

    They don't seem to realise that the first thing a crim would do is strip that warning out of their illegal copy...... I mean duh.

    I also dispute the usage of the word "pirate" as a pirate is someone who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without having a commission from any sovereign nation.

    The meaning "plagiarist" has really been made up by organisations like Microshaft and the Motion Picture Ass. of America, and its wrong. Can't undo the damage to the English language now though, the definition is already changed.


  11. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Up


    Me too, I now rent DVD's. If they are any good, then I buy from Amazon or whomever, else back in the post they go for another.

    We are in a economic mire right now, people less likely to go wasting money on things like DVD's, more likely to spend on gas, electric, food, the non-essential stuff that media companies would rather we ignored!

  12. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)


    A plagiarist is someone who passes someone else's work off as their own, but you're right, my computer's Thesaurus app says synonyms include 'pirate' and 'copyright infringer'.

    Interestingly - to me, at any rate - 'plagiarism' derives from the early 17th Century. It's from Latin plagiarius meaning ‘kidnapper’, itself from plagium ‘a kidnapping’, in turn from the Greek plagion.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    region cartel?

    I do sometimes buy DVDs, recently though they have been mostly foreign films as there is still some creativety outside of hollywoods re-make / re-hash conveyor belt.

    Also in the alienation of customers is the "you live in a certain area so you must pay more for the same thing and wait longer".

    reap what you sow..

  14. Neil 4

    Rental the way to go

    I eventually came to the conclusion that whenever I buy a DVD it gets watched once and then probably never again. This is a waste of money. Therefore I joined a DVD-rental thing to get new-ish movies, and will only buy DVDs that cost under a fiver. This will include all the latest blockbuster movies a few months down the line, should I decide I want to purchase one then. The only time I'll pay a full price is when it's Christmas and the kids are after the latest-greatest release.

    As for BluRay - I love it, but too bloody expensive. £20 a shot? Dream on!

  15. James Wilkinson

    What about iPlayer, iTunes and Virgin TV ?

    With the large catalogues of content available for watching online at iPlayer, iTunes and Virgin TV, can the movie industry not see that there are other ways to watch films that won' t be measured by physical purchases?

  16. northern monkey



    pirate, v.:

    2. trans. To reproduce or use (the work, idea, etc., of another) without authority, esp. in infringement of patent or copyright; to produce a pirate copy or edition of.

    First quote:

    1706 D. DEFOE Jure Divino Pref. p. xxvii, Gentlemen-Booksellers that threatned to Pyrate it, as they call it, viz. reprint it, and sell it for half a Crown.

    I think that predates Microsoft a wee bit!

  17. Lusty


    Hmmm, we have a decline in sales of media.

    We have lots of people illegally downloading media which is not available legitimately on the internet.

    We have a "pitate" website used by millions being threatened with shut down then sold to a media company to turn into a legitimate paid for service.

    We have an organisation ending in "Association of America" trying it's hardest to stop progress.

    We have MP3 revolution MKII. Can't we just skip the bullcrap in the middle 10 years which actually pushed more people to piracy? that way we get legitimate movie and TV downloads now and give up on the whole "our customers must be evil" thing.

    Why isn't there a "SO 20th Century" icon?!

  18. shane fitzgerald

    dvd/blu ray will go the way of VHS/Betamax.....

    We watch series now in 4od etc that we might have bought on DVD before. No point now.

    We watch HD stuff on BBC.

    And we record tons of movies of legacy tv now to the harddrive on the pc and have a huge library to choose from when we want to see a film.

    The day of buying movies in a plastic coating is not over but it will fade away over the next few years. Blue ray is a waste of time a format for a dying era.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Re: No surprise

    Should I guess... The decline roughly correlates with the growth of LoveFilm.

    Why bother buying a DVD if you can get watch it courtesy of lovefilm for a fraction of the price. I agree, I would have much rather used an online download, but until the bandwidth and usage quotas to every home makes this proposition tenable I would prefer to remember the old saying "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes".

    In this case it is a UK version - never underestimate the bandwidth of your local postman bicycle carrying DVDs from LoveFilm.

  20. WhatWasThat?


    Indeed. The "mandatory reminders" are hilarious... especially if you have some DVDs from before DMCA, where minimum penalties were lower than today. Which is it, eh? Is it relavent when the punishments they are *so happy* to grind into us out of date?


    O. M. G. It was bad enough when it was only in English... but my copy of IronMan(tm)(fu)(c)(r) (see what I did there?) comes with the warnings for FBI (1) and Interpol (2) in English, Spainish, French, Chinese, and Korean(?) - for a total of 10 warning screens, each displayed for 5 seconds. So there I am, getting madder with each one for nearly a minute! You have *got* to be kidding me.

  21. Nigel Wright

    I've stopped buying DVDs too...

    ...cos I am sick of having trailers, ads and piracy warnings shoved in my face. The industry treats it customers with contempt.

    ...and I'm skint and we're in a recession...

  22. David Simpson 1

    Internets must die.

    It must be pirates and kids, quick close down the internet.

    It's not like we are in a recession and several big name DVD retailers have went under.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "but Blu-Ray Disc isn't replacing the decade-old format in consumers' affections"


    Die Sony DIE!!!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It was interesting to note that, during June, both Target and Walmart in the US were heavily discounting(50% or more) standard ( and quite new release) dvds. I assumed that the US customers were just not interested in buying such a normally overpriced product and reacted accordingly. Many of the HD dvds(not BR) were available for $ 4 ea from other shops. I suspect that the content is now so unattractive that even giving away dvds will soon be difficult. If the Sunday newspaper can give a good dvd to me free (well almost) then I might consider the product, otherwise, I'd sooner buy a couple of drinks!

  25. Anonymous Coward

    I'm fed up with DVDs

    I'm sick of buying DVDs with adverts and anti-piracy crap at the beginning.

    I'm sick of having to chose a language . I bought it in England so the chances are I want to watch in English FFS.

    I'm sick of bloody silly menus which take ages to appear after waiting for lengthy animations or spliced together bits of the film.

    I'm bored with crappy 'extras'.

    I'm annoyed by not being able to stick a disc in my player for my son and just leave it to play for him. No I have to wait bloody ages before I can press play and leave him to watch it.

    I'm annoyed by the way DVDs seem to go missing from the box in a way VHS never did.

    Most of all I'm sick of the rubbish films. There hasn't been a decent 'must buy' DVD for months.

    Funnily enough I think it's affecting rentals too. Our local corner shop has done VHS then DVD rentals for over 12 years but recently he's stopped doing it. Apparently nobody was renting any more mainly due to the poor quality of Hollywood's output.

    I won't be getting Blu-ray. Already been on that road upgrading my VHS collection to DVD. Won't be ripped off that way again (unless Sony reduce the PS3 to a reasonable £100 price or I can get a Blu-ray player for £30 from Tesco and films for £5 with no shit at the beginning). No. I'll wait for Sky to broadcast the stuff in nice HD.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @ServicewithaSmile&Tony Smith

    You guys are a font of knowlege...the things el reg comments teach us... :o).

    Just a question of semantics, suppose pirate is easier to communicate than copyright infringer or intellectual property infringer. It is nice though, that they didn't jump on the pirate bandwagon.

  27. The Mighty Spang

    the numbers are meaningless...

    until you factor in any growth of online dvd rental. once they became cheap and reliable (and had a good selection of non hollywood films) thats the last time I bought a dvd a few years ago.

    also to factor in is the recession. just buying people "crap" DVDs like TV shows (that most people can record for themselves in good quality) because you don't have to put much thought into them is probably going out the window in the current climate.

    and in the current climate, point #1 again.

  28. Hedley Phillips

    DVD sales down? - we have never bought a DVD

    We rent and return. What is the point of buying a film and watching it more than once?

  29. Sooty

    i've bought a lot this year

    but none of it has been particularly recent, and most of it down to getting a blu-ray player at christmas.

    I can't actually think of what decent films have been released this year, i'll probably get watchmen when released, but i can't think of much else worth buying. Last year didn't have a massive number of releases worth buying either, maybe 3 or 4.

    I wonder if the studios, and others, realise that sales naturally fall off as the market is saturated. people who buy dvd's generally will now have all the currently available films and will only buy new releases. No decent releases means the number of people buying them falls off.

  30. Jacqui


    Ok we can watch DVD's via a "puter but we no longer even *have* a TV.

    I am just wondering how many folks here (without kids) have decided to forgo the TV tax and get rid of the gogglebox?

    When ours died a year or two ago money was not tight but we decided to try living without one for a year - then the BBT TVL nastygrams and intimidation started. Because of this (and we got a lot more stuff done) we decided to not give in to the BBC threats and stay "Tellyless".

    Now we no longer have a TV budget and coughing up 100's for a TV and 100's for a licence seems an insane waste of the hard earned...

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Effect of iPlayer et al

    Thanks to iPlayer and others you can watch missed episodes online so you don't have to buy a whole DVD boxset to see the missed episode (legally).

  32. Oldfogey

    DVD Rental

    One thing that's done DVD sales no good at all down here is that a new Rental store has just opened (yes, I do live that far down country). It has a £2.50 membership, and offered free rentals for your first month.

    Like everybody else, I have watched everything of even the slightest interest in 2 weeks. Not been back since.

    Apparently nobody has taken a single Blu-ray.

    Now all I need is a decent on-line rental firm to keep me supplied with the occasional new film. Unfortunately they are almost all run by Lovefilm, and require a continous authorisation on your credit card; nobody gets that on my cards, no way.

    Anybody any ideas?

    And why doesn't the NONE icon display NONE?

  33. Anonymous Coward


    I have a large DVD collection of all the films i like, past and present. I openly admit that i will more than likely download a film to watch unless its a "big screen must see" if its good, i buy the DVD, if its not, i dont, my theroy is if the Good films get my money then perhaps they will stop flooding the market with re hashed crap thats coming out of holywood and alike.

    Seriously, since ive now back dated my DVD collection to older films, an ive now run out of films to buy, with a couple of exceptions there is very little worth folking out for.

    Of course the Irony of all this is once i buy a DVD ill rip it to my PC for quick access, which begs the question, why bother with the DVD at all? well its the pain in the arse called DRM if they ditch it, ill buy films over the net, if they are any good that is. DRM free will never happen, which in the end, is only going to effect them, so i dont really know what they plan to achieve.

  34. Mike Richards Silver badge


    I particularly enjoy the UK DVDs where the media company hasn't even bothered to change the copyright warning and still threatens me with the warm rubber gloves of the FBI and a huge dollar fine.

  35. frank ly

    @AC 17:29

    "I'm annoyed by the way DVDs seem to go missing from the box in a way VHS never did."

    Imagine if films were released on micro-SD card. They'd probably end up in the vacuum cleaner :)

  36. Winkypop Silver badge


    But there's NOTHING worth buying on DVD.

    Also, as others have pointed out:

    -> Region coding (cartel swindle act)

    -> Adverts on disc

    -> Whoop whoop illegal warnings !!!

    -> Price

  37. Robert E A Harvey
    Big Brother

    @Mike Richards

    >..UK DVDs ... FBI ... dollar fine.

    Take it to trading standards and tell them you think it is evidence of piracy. Write to the distributor saying that is what you have done.

    Should be a laugh.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I made the decision a while ago not to buy DVDs until they got rid of region locking. They didn't have them on VHS so why rip off customers by putting them on DVDs?

  39. Stef 4

    @Hedley Phillips

    "What is the point of buying a film and watching it more than once?"

    Wow, really? I'm guessing you don't really appreciate film then. (After all, you are obviously not watching the films in the cinema, which is what they were designed for).

    Out of interest, do you have the same attitude to music? After all, what is the point of buying a CD/MP3, you already know how the song goes. And why read a book more than once? Have you had the same meal more than once in your entire life? If so, why? You already know how the meal will taste.

    No one I know is buy DVDs any more. Firstly there is very little worthwhile content at the moment. Secondly we are all waiting for the BluRay versions. Thirdly, when it comes to BluRay versions of box sets, we are waiting for the prices to drop to an acceptable level for a 10 year old TV show for example.

  40. The Indomitable Gall

    Ban the Wii!

    Clearly it's families playing Wii Sports that's killing movie sales.

    I mean, a Wii game costs the same as two films, but two films last 3 hours. A Wii game lasts weeks!!!

    Ban the Wii so that George Clooney can earn an honest crust!

  41. Ben Bradley
    Jobs Horns

    I am a pirate

    There I said it.

    I am a pirate... because I've not bought a brand new DVD for several years thanks to ebay and amazon marketplace. Technically that counts as piracy (selling/buying 2nd hand DVDs/CDs).

    Plus there's not been any films I feel have been worth shelling out a tenner for.

    Thank the lord for Sky Plus, allowing me to steadily work my way through The Wire for free :)

  42. Shaun 2

    I'm still buying........................

    I download movies from interweb - if I like em, I buy em (Wjhich is about 90% of them as I check IMDB reviews before downloading).

    And I'm buying most of them on BluRay now - you can get most newish movies from Amazon, Play or Tesco online for under a tenner.

    I'm eagerly awaiting an angry letter accusing me of piracy so I can send them a photo of my wall of DVD's and BluRays.....................

    Mine's the one with the pocket full on alen keys after building more Swedish DVD racks...............

  43. Greg J Preece

    I will buy Blu-ray

    When it becomes cheaper. I bought 2001 for a tenner, the new Batman films for £15 and the super-uber-deluxe Blade Runner boxset on Blu-ray. Because...well...with films like that, you've got to really. I do love my movies.

    But will I be replacing my ooooodles of DVDs with BDs in the near future? Hell no! Not at those prices.

    I have nothing against Blu-ray, unlike some of the other foaming-at-the-mouth rantboys on here. "Die Sony Die"...? I quite like it as a format. And will all the download service advocates please (for now) shut the fuck up? If they released a HD download movie service in the UK right now two things would happen:

    1) Net neutrality would end overnight because our infrastructure just IS NOT READY. I don't know how many times I have to say this, but it is not good enough for HD movie downloads, certainly not for streaming. (They're already bitching about the iPlayer.) A BD disc is 50GB. How long would that take to download even on my rather meaty line? And if I want 300 of those discs, where am I gonna store all that data? Dumbasses. What you want will happen, but not yet.

    2) The 2nd hand market would slowly cease to exist, so you will all end up paying more for what you watch. Don't believe me? Look at games. Steam is one of the biggest online game distribution networks, and bloody hell, it's expensive. If a game is released on there exclusively, can I buy a cheap 2nd hand copy? I'm stuck paying full price for everything, and full price on most media is too damn much.

    I like my physical copies. Ones I don't have to wait for. Ones I can trade, sell on, get cheap. Ones that are never going to be affected by a server dying or a parent company going bust. Ones that will be mine forever because they're solid, plastic wrapped, and in my hand.

  44. Scott Mckenzie

    @Shane + general...

    Shane, the stuff you see on the BBC is not HD, that's 720p at best and with a maximum of dolby digital, but not always.

    Compare that to a Blu Ray disc and the difference is significant - on the right audio system the audio difference is the biggest.

    However the very fact i've had to write that shows that to many people they either don't know or more likely don't actually care.. both are a lot better than DVD so folks are happy!

    I used to be loads of films, i still buy Blu Ray films but not as many, now i'm a Lovefilm member and I also download/rent films via Apple TV. As many AV enthusiasts have been saying for a long time, downloads are the future... easier and faster delivery, they just need to get the quality up there.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    It's the story - stupid

    Maybe someone can explain to me why BD should succeed - ever! Why would I want to buy a copy of a rubbish film just to enable me to see the spots and bad makeup on the faces of the actors. I buy a DVD copy of the films which have a GREAT story line because I what to watch it more than once otherwise I go with the majority here and rent a physical DVD (soon to be 'streaming').

    BD are dead...

  46. Jacqui Smith's DVD Collection!

    Nothing to do with pirates

    DVD sales are falling because people don't watch so much TV, they have Internet video they have games consoles and some of us have a life!

    The other thing is there just aren't that many good releases.

  47. Toastan Buttar

    My behaviours have changed recently.

    A few factors:

    1. Old films I had on VHS or never had, you can pick up at Asda for £2-3. Bargain !

    2. Many films are merely 'pretty good' and can only stand to be watched once or twice. Renting rather than purchasing makes more sense in these cases.

    3. In the case of certain TV series box sets, the unskippable between-episode interruptions are unforgiveable. Don't even talk to me about unskippable anti-piracy adverts on legit purchased media !

    4. Sky+ (and other PVR solutions) allows me to (conveniently - one button push !) keep hold of a series or movie long enough to know whether it'd justify a permanent purchase on DVD. More often than not, it doesn't.

    5. The only DVDs I've found to be worth the purchase price have been music DVDs, kids movies (particularly Disney and Pixar), documentaries and real classics with immersive stories that you can watch time and again.

    6. iPlayer et al (and the extra freeview channels) let you rewatch episodes of a new series if you hear about it at work after it's been aired.

  48. Craig 12

    9% < 15% (apparently without these brackets, this doesn't count as a title) ▲

    I find it interesting that a medium which should be in decline anyway (due to rental, iplayer, HD, recession etc), combined with two retailers going down that accounted for 15% of all sales, that overall things only went down 9%. That's pretty decent I reckon for the old format.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Don't know about you but

    In June I had a 50% sale that also went to 75% for older and obscure films. And Amazon did a similar thing for their stock. Both dropping series box sets to half their price.

    So I bought a few films and paid 1.99, 2.99. because I liked them from years ago when I first saw them, or just filling some back catalogues of things like the "Philp K dick films" Even got a must have for 4.99

    I won't be buying DVD's at full price anymore as lets be honest I have never watched any of the extras for 99% of the films I have, and last year I had 4 that were must buys.

    So far this year I have seen 2 "must buys" and we are half way through. But I still won't pay more than a a fiver if I can get away with it as even "Must buys" can wait six months.

    The rubbish prior the actual menu and all the warnings telling me not to buy illegal DVD's doesn't appear on illegal DVD's. Is it a wonder people download, or hack a copy without it?

    I sometimes think the film and music business don't see the real world around them.

    Pint because it is Friday.

  50. Patrick 14

    I think I know why DVD sales are down Its .....

    HD DVD.

    I have a Toshiba Laptop L200 1JV with a HD DVD in it.

    And when I walked into Game Station and see brand new (not preowned ) FILMS AT £1.99 each

    I got 19 of them lol. NO really I did

    The laptops hooked up to my 37" LCD TV and it still hd films just not on blue ray and around 10* cheaper.

    So no DVDs for me lol....

    Coat icon as I'm Looking for money to get this years tech........LOL

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