DVD Video Growth Continues in First Quarter of 1999

According to recent figures released by the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association (CEMA) last week, DVD-Video experienced continued growth during the first quarter of 1999. More than 360,000 players were shipped to retailers through March 26, with the DVD Video Group projecting that an additional 30,000 units would be shipped during the last week of March, bringing the quarter's total shipment to 390,000.

The DVD Video Group also estimates that approximately 1.6 million players have been installed in consumer homes to date. Based on DVD's strong performance in the first quarter, the installed base is expected to reach 3.3 million by the end of 1999. From 1997 to 1998, hardware manufacturers shipped 1.4 million units, and the group projects that hardware shipments will exceed 2 million units in 1999, underscoring DVD's success as the fastest-growing new packaged-media format in history.

"These impressive shipment numbers for first-quarter 1999 indicate the overwhelming consumer demand for this exciting format," says Emiel N. Petrone, chairman of the DVD Video Group and executive vice president of Philips Entertainment Group, a unit of Philips Electronics. "These numbers would have been even more impressive if the industry had not been affected by hardware shortages during the critical holiday selling season."

According to projections from 15 member software companies, the group estimates that 10 million DVD discs were sold during first-quarter 1999, "demonstrating consumers' insatiable appetite for DVD-based entertainment." Since the format's launch, studios and music labels have shipped nearly 30 million units, according to figures compiled by the group using reports from VideoScan, which tracks approximately 70% of the retail market.

Disc sales are expected to remain strong throughout the year, with an estimated 200 new titles released each month. Currently, more than 2500 titles are available; the DVD Video Group projects that, by the end of 1999, 4500 DVD titles will be available for rental and sell-through.