Sony says Blu-ray sales short of forecasts

Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:11pm EST
 
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By Franklin Paul

NEW YORK (Reuters) - High definition Blu-ray disc players may be one of the holiday season's best sellers, but they will still fall short of expectations, due to the tough economy, the head of Sony's U.S. electronics unit said.

Sales of the next-generation movies players, developed by Sony and sold under brands including Panasonic and Samsung, could benefit from a late shopping spurt as budget conscious U.S. consumers find deals, Stan Glasgow told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.

But they will not meet the worldwide target of 5 million units, most of which had been expected to sell in the United States.

"It's not that far off of it," he said. "Maybe 10 percent off of what we had thought. It's truly one of the items that has performed well during this economic mess."

After the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on November 27, electronics retailers are expected to slash prices of Blu-ray players -- which originally sold for as high as $1,500 in 2006, -- to as low as $150 per unit, experts said.

Sales of Blu-ray players, which promise higher quality video and audio to viewers with HD televisions, have been hampered by retail prices on movie discs, which can top $30 a piece.

Glasgow suggested that discounted prices for movies could jump-start player sales.

"They (movie studios) need to make money, and the packaged media (discs) is a critical way for them to make money so I understand their problems also," he said. "But I'd love to see those prices come down, as well as the price of Blu-ray players, to drive adoption."   Continued...