Bad signs for Blu-ray abound

Bad signs for Blu-ray abound

In this month's issue of Wired magazine, Sony and Microsoft splurged on a full-page insert that includes a Blu-ray DVD. The disc is the "director's cut" of Coma, a seven-part noir-esque crime thriller. On the back of the insert, there's a plug for Vista and the Sony Vaio. I don't know how much this is costing Sony and its partners, but it can't be cheap -- Wired's paid circulation is 706,494, and this press release indicates that other magazines may be involved.

Have Sony and its Blu-ray backers come to this -- using a marketing tactic reminiscent of 90s-style software and music giveaways in an attempt to boost Blu-ray? Remember, this was a technology that people were supposed to rush out and buy after Blu-ray won the HD format battle with HD-DVD. Sony president Ryoji Chubachi even expressed a goal back in April that Blu-ray would grow to a global market share of 50% in 2008. There's already strong evidence that Blu-ray's market share is declining, at least in the U.S., according to recent data from Nielsen VideoScan published on EngadgetHD.

In The Industry Standard's prediction market, there's a prediction that Blu-ray's market share will not break 50% by the end of this year. That's a no-brainer. Our readers are largely behind this prediction, with community consensus currently standing at 82%. Another prediction that Blu-ray player prices would drop below US$250 by Thanksgiving was judged three months early after one model hit $249.47 (with a rebate). How low can prices go for the players? This morning, another reader pointed us to news that models by Sony and Samsung are selling for less than $200, including shipping. The Engadget author calls the Sony BDP-S300 deal "unquestionably delectable." Sony better hope that mainstream consumers feel the same way, or the company risks another weak Christmas for Blu-ray this year -- and losing out in an even bigger way when consumers begin to turn to the Internet for their HD content.

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