More people renting DVD and Blu-ray Discs?

Overall sales of DVD and Blu-ray Discs were down big in the fourth quarter of 2008. That portends a larger trend of consumers renting movies rather than buying them.

I just noticed a New York Times blog post about the sales trends of DVD and Blu-ray discs. While numbers for DVD and Blu-ray weren't broken out, overall sales for discs were down big in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Here's the key quote from the article:

In last year's fourth quarter, usually a big one for DVD sales...the studios' revenue from sell-through of conventional DVDs and Blu-ray discs fell 23.4 percent, to $2.6 billion from $3.4 billion. This drop of $800 million, Adams Research figures, shaved fully $500 million from the studios' operating profit because they have normally had a very high, 60 percent profit margin on sell-through revenue.

None of this is all that surprising, of course. First of all, the economy sucks, so people are trying to save more. Second, consumers are gradually transitioning from DVD to Blu-ray--or at least considering it--so there's less incentive to continue building that DVD collection. Put it all together, and you have people doing the smart thing: renting, not buying.

Unfortunately for studios, the trend toward renting vs. buying DVD and Blu-ray discs is probably only going to get more pronounced in the coming months--and maybe even years--especially when you consider the high cost of Blu-ray Discs.

As always, feel free to comment about your own personal situation.