It's a Blu-ray future: sales of discs are growing fast, with the UK leading Europe into the Blu-ray revolution.

That's the result of research from Futuresource Consulting, a company not exactly known for keeping quiet about the success of Blu-ray Disc. After all, in its previous incarnation as Understanding & Solutions, its MD, Jim Bottoms, was one of the most outspoken market research voices in the Blu corner during the format battle with HD DVD.

The company suggests that over 100 million Blu discs will be sold this year, across the USA, Western Europe and Japan. And it says that BD will account for 50% of US disc sales, and 35% in Europe, by 2012.

“In the USA, BD has moved from early adopter phase through to early majority, with the format gaining real traction in the marketplace,” according to Mai Hoang, Futuresource Senior Market Analyst.

“Last year in the US alone, BD video retail sales increased by a whopping 320% to 24 million units; and we’re going to see momentum continuing in 2009, with over 80 million disc sales forecast.”

Europe accounted for nine million sales last year, but Futuresource is expecting 'further healthy growth' this year. "The UK is the largest market for BD in Western Europe,” says Hoang, adding that “With sales of more than 3.5 million units in 2008, it represented over 40% of the West European total."

And the Futuresource report does a good job of covering the disparity between the number of discs manufactured last year and the number sold.

“Although 36 million Blu-ray video discs were sold worldwide last year, more than 200 million were manufactured,” says Michael Boreham, Senior Consultant at Futuresource. “A portion of the remaining discs can be accounted for by multi-disc titles and promo campaigns - covermounts are already starting to emerge and we’re projecting much more activity over the next few years.

"However, the majority is ‘pipeline fill’, where product is placed into the supply chain in readiness for the growth in hardware sales, and to enable the retailers to build their in-store displays."

But it's at the end of the report that Futuresource rather gives the game away, with the stats giving way to sheer marketing puff:

'Blu-ray is here to stay, with a lucrative roadmap stretching out for at least the next five to ten years.

'Factor in the rise of 3D and its associated technologies, which are ideally suited to the BD delivery platform, and there is clearly a long-term opportunity for the industry to further sustain consumer interest in packaged entertainment media, and Futuresource will continue to closely monitor developments within this market.'

I'm sure it will - and no doubt keep us fully informed...

More after the break