Disc sales continued to plummet throughout the first half of the year, as more consumers opted to rent or stream movies rather than purchase them on DVD or Blu-ray, though the latter is on the rise.

The Digital Entertainment Group reports an 18% drop in disc sales to US$3.9 billion in the first six months of the year. Overall spending dipped 5% to $8.5 billion during the period, with a double-digit gain in rental spending making up for much of the decline in disc sales.

The organization, backed by major studios, attributed the decline to a weaker slate of home entertainment debuts, notes “Reuters” (http://macte.ch/HPu24). However, according to the DEG report, Blu-ray spending rose more than 10% in the period.

Electronic sell-through — also commonly referred to as digital downloads — rose 4%, but remain a very small portion of the business, accounting for $270 million in the first six months of the year. The entire digital category, also including video on demand, reached $1.2 billion during the period. That also represented a 4% increase.

I realize that’s good news to companies like Apple. And Jobs & Company are absolutely determined to make online availability the future of video purchasing and renting. 
But that future’s not here yet, and Blu-ray is growing as an option for serious videophiles. Too bad that Macs don’t support it — and apparently never will.

— Dennis Sellers