Digital technology the cause of DVD market decline, not piracy

Figures released by the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association show that the market for digital film and television sales in Australia grew 22.4% last financial year to $143.67 million. It is estimated that digital sales now account for 15% of the market, up from a reported 10% in 2012.

The rise in digital sales has been accompanied by a steady decline in the sale of DVD, Blu-Ray and other physical formats, which peaked in 2007-08 with 98.8 units sold. The number in 2012-13 was 63.6 million units.

Amazingly however, in Melbourne’s The Age newspaper this morning, Karl Quinn asserts that these figures represent a glimmer of hope for the declining home entertainment industry, which is apparently besieged by piracy. As argued yesterday, clearly there is a very significant technological shift occurring and the Australian market is playing catch up with consumers. Piracy is one effect of this, the other is consumers purchasing content online.

The only thing that is going to improve revenues for the sector is to dispense with this pervasive mindset that the industry is under attack by evil pirates, and instead to offer a service that consumers are willing to pay for. These figures don’t reflect the damage done by piracy, but rather, the fact that people are willing to pay for content DESPITE the ridiculously substandard service that we here in Australia receive, namely “slow download speeds, limited content availability and high purchase prices.” Give the people what they want and you may just build a lucrative market.

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