Know Your Blu-ray Stats

In this age of press stories lamenting (or hailing) the demise of packaged media, it helps to know a little about the latter's strengths. One excellent source I've found for such research is The site covers Blu-rays and Ultra HD Blu-rays only, not DVDs. It offers an in depth look at Blu-rays from a number of angles including total releases, both overall and by year, and a wide range of other parameters that can be sorted in a huge variety of ways. Want to know how many discs have been released by each studio, or by year, or by video or audio format? Or the number of Ultra HD titles currently available (over 400)? You can research all that and much more.

The caveat here is that we have no practical way of cross-checking the accuracy of the statistics this site, nor do we know how the data were compiled. But taking it at face value offers some interesting results.

Since the launch of Blu-ray in 2006 up to earlier this year, there have been just over 18,000 titles released. Of the major studios releasing discs — Disney, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner — the largest contributor has been "Other" with 9,400 titles. That's right, independent companies have released over half of the titles, though some of their product has likely come from the major studios, with those independents gobbling up older movies and TV shows that the majors believe will appeal only to a small audience. Some such titles can become collector's items. I own at least one of them, The Egyptian, a 1954 early CinemaScope release. The disc package says 20th Century Fox (the studio that made the film), but it was released several years ago in a limited number of pressings (3,000) by Twilight Time. They sold out quickly. I wish I'd bought two; it's my favorite swords and sandals epic.

Of the major studio releases, around 9,000 titles, Warner's the leader with 2,305 (Warner was also one of the first and strongest supporters of DVD, back in the day). Fox is next with 1,128, and MGM is at the bottom with 318. Disney is also a bit of a laggard with just 590 releases, but its recent purchase of Fox should correct that situation!

Of the 18,000 total titles, 88% offer lossless audio of some type. DTS-HD MA is the most popular, with about 65% of the titles. But Dolby TrueHD is slowly creeping up with over 12% thanks to the growth of Dolby Atmos. The charts turn a bit fuzzy here, as they list Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Atmos separately, and it's not clear if the Dolby TrueHD numbers include those with Dollby Atmos). In any case Dolby Atmos titles do lead DTS:X by 376 to 133.

Eighteen hundred titles offer 24-bit audio. But only a fraction of those, a total of 33, offer what audiophiles generally consider the minimum spec for high-res audio: 24-bit/96-kHz. Most of these are music titles, but two of them are films. One is the exceptional documentary Baraka, the other is The Right Stuff. I've never considered the latter to have exceptional audio, but it's solid and admirable for what is by now a 36-year old soundtrack. But Baraka's audio (mostly a music score) is superb. (There are a significant number of high res, 24-bit/96-kHz audio-only Blu-rays, but they're not part of this discussion. Nor are they, as far as I know, included in the statistics on Many of the titles that have 24-bit audio but not 96-kHz sampling offer excellent sound, but typically no better than the best titles that use the more common 16-bits.

I thought it might be interesting, and perhaps useful, to compare the number of Blu-ray titles released year-to-year by the major studios since 2010. That's far enough removed from the format's 2006 launch that the numbers should be past their early growing pains. Here they are:

2010 – 617
2011 – 922
2012 – 890
2013 – 886
2014 – 911
2015 – 778
2016 – 819
2017 – 812
2018 – 653

The numbers do taper off a bit in 2018 to the lowest level since 2010, but not enough to indicate a statistical trend. Assuming is continually updated (and the lack of updates in the last few months doesn't suggest that it will be) the end-of-year 2019 figures should be interesting.

sirwilliamlee's picture

There is a misspelling in the title... finding STRENTH in blu-ray.
Then the first sentence mentions a 'latter'.....with no 'former'.
I'm only 2 sentences in.