US: 3.5m 3D Blu-rays sold in 12 months

US consumers purchased an estimated 1.75 million 3D Blu-ray discs at retail during the format’s first 12 months on the market, and brought home another 1.7 million units as part of hardware/software bundling deals, according to IHS Screen Digest.

From June 22nd, 2010 to June 21st, 2011, 1.59 million 3D Blu-rays feature films were sold in the US. When combined with the format’s 161,700 non-feature units, a grand total of 1.75 million discs were sold at retail, according to an IHS analysis of Nielsen VideoScan point-of-sale data. Another 1.7 million discs were delivered to US consumers through hardware bundling deals during the same period, bringing the total to 3.5 million, IHS estimates.

“Consumers are finding that -D is one of the most fun concepts in home entertainment since color television, providing true three-dimensional pictures right in their living room,” said Jan Saxton, senior analyst, film entertainment, for IHS. “Once they have 3D in the home, they love it and are hungry for content, snapping up 3D Blu-rays movies as soon as they become available. Sales reached this high level despite the fact that the number of 3D titles on the market was relatively small compared to non-3D Blu-ray.”

A total of 93 3D Blu-ray titles were expected for release in the US during 2010 and 2011, the first two calendar years of the format’s availability. In comparison, 448 Blu-ray titles were released during that format’s first two years in the market.

The major reason for the limited number of 3D Blu-ray titles on the market is the relatively small quantity of 3D titles released theatrically in previous years. However, this is rapidly changing. There were 23 theatrical 3D releases in 2010, and virtually all the blockbuster movies this year are being given the 3D treatment, which will allow the release of more 3D titles in 2011 and the following years. Additionally, studios are already converting some of their major hits from the past 30 years for theatrical re-release in 3D, like “Star Wars” and “Titanic,” with Blu-ray releases sure to follow.

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