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Screen Media: Foreign Disc Sales Falling … and Will Keep Falling

DVD and Blu-ray sales dropped 3% in 2009; expected to decline about 20% by 2014

As the nattering nabobs of video-business negativism like to say, that light at the end of the tunnel just might be a train … or perhaps a downward-trending foreign market.

Screen Digest released dour figures Monday, revealing that international sales of DVDs, Blu-ray discs and other packaged media slid about 3 percent in 2009 to $17.1 billion.

Even worse, the London-based research firm predicts a sustained slide to $14.5 billion for the movie-disc business by 2014.

While U.S. sales of Blu-ray titles increased 70 percent last year, Screen Media attributed slow adoption of the format to its premium price amid a tough global economy. However, the company did not mention competition from digital formats, with many European and Asian countries ahead of the U.S. in broadband infrastructure.

According to the report, among foreign buyers of Blu-ray players and Blu-ray-capable PlayStation 3 boxes purchased only, on average, 1.5 Blu-ray titles last year.

The news comes amid of perked-up hopes in the U.S., with Fox Home Entertainment’s “Avatar” breaking Blu-ray records domestically.