Worldwide DVD Replication to Reach 1.28 Billion Units by 2002

At the DVD Production '98 conference last week, the International Recording Media Association (IRMA) released sales forecasts for the growth and worldwide expansion of the international DVD marketplace. The numbers are part of a study on the growth and direction of the world optical-media marketplace.

According to IRMA's Worldwide Optical Media Intelligence Report, annual worldwide DVD replication will reach 1.28 billion discs by the year 2002. Other statistics in the report predict that North American DVD-Video replication will increase from 40 million units in 1998 to 183 million units in 2002, while worldwide DVD-Video replication will reach 64 million units this year and should grow to 430 million units in the year 2002.

In his speech, IRMA Executive Vice President Charles Van Horn explained to an audience of over 300 DVD-production professionals that, "We are obviously in the audience-building stage of the DVD marketplace. Audiences are slow to change with the introduction of new technology. An educational process is always needed. Look at 2002 as only the beginning of the format's introduction to the consumer mass market. Of course, DVD-Video is a rather small marketplace in comparison to VHS, but as the first true convergence-entertainment product, the potential, according to our statistics, is tremendous.

Van Horn's presentation documented a strong "lift-off" for the new format, which offers tremendous opportunities for producers of DVD content. According to IRMA statistics, consumers are embracing the format at a strong rate, with over 800,000 DVD-Video households in North America in 1998. This number is expected to grow to 8.6 million by the year 2002.

The growth of retail outlets will also propel the demand for DVD-Video. IRMA projects that the number of stores selling or renting the new format will increase from 5000 outlets at the end of 1997 to more than 12,000 by the end of 1998. Van Horn stated that "sensible retailing and marketing will make DVD more apparent to all consumers---not just early adopters---who are acquiring DVD-Video programs at an annual rate that exceeds VHS sell-through buy rates: 15-20 DVD-Videos vs. 10-15 VHS videos."

Van Horn encouraged the Hollywood community to "emphasize the entertainment content and potential of DVD and not confuse the consumer audience with a technology story. In order to build the audience for DVD, we must develop new and innovative programming that truly communicates the value of the new DVD format to its audience."