Although the hi-def Blu-ray format is rocketing upward -- sales increased 400% over the last year due to lower-priced players, the fact that the discs can be played on PS3 consoles, and a jump in sales of HD TVs -- the home vid biz took a big hit this year.
Though sales are still above $20 billion, as they have been every year since 2002, the Christmas season was down from 5% to 8 % over the previous year. The good news is, that's not as bad as other industries. Air travel was off nearly 10% and car sales were worse.
As one exec told Variety, "Down is the new flat and flat is the new up."
Interesting to note: downloads had very little impact on the overall numbers. Look for that to change big-time in 2009.
The big home vid sellers of last year were The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E, Mamma Mia, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and I Am Legend.