The iTunes effect is undeniable in the world of blank media products. As of July, Apple reported more than three billion music
files have been downloaded from iTunes, making it the third largest music retailer in the world, surpassing even Amazon. As more
consumers turn to digital music sites like iTunes to purchase audio and video, blank media sales may become a bit more precarious. On one hand, CD-Rs and DVD-Rs have become excellent products for backing up digital music libraries. On the other, encouraging digital consumers to revisit a disc format they have given up in favor of digital audio is challenging for many big box and independent retailers. But while CD-R sales are down, DVD-R sales have been growing thanks to new formats and more storage power.
“We continue to see strong growth in DVD media, specifically from Dual-Layer and Lightscribe products,” said Paul Ewert, executive vice president and general merchandising manager for CompUSA. He attributes strong sales to merchandising efforts more than brand recognition. “The majority of customers are looking for deals on the products rather than specific brands.”
As blank media becomes more of a commodity, retailers and manufacturers alike are offering fewer rebates, causing consumers to take a harder look at new formats, including HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Don Patrican, executive vice president of Maxell, said that while CD-R sales are down, there are still plenty of consumers who use CD-R-compatible drives. “There’s a tremendous install base of CD-R hardware drives,” he said. “So we’re not seeing as much erosion as we thought we’d see with CD-R. It’s holding up fairly well because it’s an
economical way for people to store things.”