by Jeff Fleischer(Sydney Morning Herald, October 20, 2003)
We were out of the blocks slowly, but Australians have been quick to catch up with the rest of the world in the race to own a DVD player.
Industry analysts recently dubbed the DVD player the fastest-selling consumer electronic item in history. More than 100 million households worldwide now own one, and Australians have joined the buying frenzy, with sales of DVD (digital versatile disc) players and discs expected to top $1 billion as early as next year, largely due to rapidly falling prices.
Six years after it was introduced to the Australian market, the DVD has made its way into 45 per cent of households, outstripping our previous take-up of new technology.
The adoption of the CD between its introduction here in 1983, and 1990, when one in five homes reported owning one, was considered fast at the time.
Similarly, Australian ownership of VHS players hit 47 per cent in 1987 – 11 years after the technology’s international release – a suprising success story for the industry at the time.
DVD players were launched internationally in 1997, but in 1999 fewer than 50,000 players had been sold in Australia, says industry analyst GFK Marketing.
By the end of 2002, however, 22 per cent of Australian homes owned a player, says Nielsen Media Research. That number climbed to 35 per cent in May.
Haydon Myers, of electronics retailer Harvey Norman, Haydon Myers, said: “It’s very rare that you’ll see a product go from being a high-end item to a consumer item so quickly.”
Mr Myers said the average price of a DVD player will have fallen to about $200 by Christmas, down about $100 from the same time last year.
More than 700,000 DVD players and 13 million DVDs have already been sold in Australia this year.