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Despite Shaky Economy, Blu-ray, DVD Remain Popular

Gas may be at $4 and up per gallon, movies tickets at $8 or $9 for weekend matinees, and home values sliding, but home entertainment packaged media is holding its own for the consumer dollar, especially DVD rentals and sales, as well as Blu-ray Disc titles. And one big reason for the consistency of sales in a tight economy could be the relatively low cost of disc rentals, along with lower sales prices for both standard DVDs and Blu-ray.

Spending in the first two quarters of 2008 on DVD and Blu-ray (sales and rentals) was up 1.6 percent compared to the same time frame a year earlier, according to the Blu-ray Disc Association and Home Media Magazine.

The six-month total was $10.77 billion. Disc buys grew slightly more than 1 percent in the six-month period ($6.87 billion) from $6.8 billion, while rental spending rose 2.6 percent ($3.9 billion).

Blu-ray sales numbers in the first half of this year ($194 million) remain only a fraction of overall video disc sales, but that figure is still 350 percent higher than combined Blu-ray and (now-defunct) HD DVD sales only a year ago.