A new report from market research firm The NPD Group concludes that the outlook for movies and other entertainment on Universal Media Disc (UMD) — the tiny optical disk used by Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) is “bleak.”
Despite the news, NPD says that the multifunctionality of the PSP has been instrumental to the device’s success — nearly two-thirds of PSP owners surveyed have movie or TV content on UMD discs already, and more than two-fifths say that the ability to watch movie or TV content was an important factor in buying the device.
The PSP came to North American shores in early 2005. More than just a handheld gaming system, the PSP allows users to listen to music, view digital photos and watch movies that have been transferred from a Mac or PC using USB 2.0. Firmware updates offered by Sony since the PSP’s release have since allowed the device to view Web pages, and most recently, Macromedia Flash content.
Games for the device are offered on UMD format, which is also suitable for movies and television shows. Major movie studios have released PSP versions of their movies on UMD format alongside new DVD releases, but those UMDs often cost more than their higher-quality DVD counterparts. Movies and music “appear to be entrenched in terms of penetration, average number owned and importance” according to NPD’s report.
NPD concluded that UMD adoption by PSP users is hampered by two main factors: Price and selection. If movie and television studios price the right content more competitively, UMD sales might see a lift, according to NPD industry analyst Anita Frazier.
“Additionally, UMD sales may benefit if manufacturers and retailers focus on raising awareness and providing easier access,” said Frazier.
The study was based on a survey sent to 55,000 members of NPD’s consumer panel aged 6 to 44.