5. OPTICAL STORAGE MEDIA

For optical media, we focused on the three major industry categories: compact discs (CD) for audio, CD-ROM, and digital video discs (DVD). These media are relatively young: CDs and CD-ROMS have existed for about 20 years, while DVDs originated about 8 years ago. All 3 optical media types are currently thriving. Decline in the production and sale of retail audio CDs has been offset by the growing popularity of writeable CDs (CD-R and CD-RW). Meanwhile, DVDs have achieved the fastest market penetration of any recent technology.

Table 5.1: Hardware Comparison: Years to Reach 30 Million Players Shipped

VCR

13 years

CD

8 years

DVD

5 years

Source: DVD Entertainment Group press release 1/8/02

Annual title production for the 3 optical media types appears in the Table 5.2. There are significantly more audio CD titles produced each year than CD-ROMs or DVDs. However a DVD can store nearly 10 times as much data as a CD, so the totals in terabytes are roughly equivalent for the two media.

Table 5.2: Annual title production of the 3 optical media types – 2003 sources

Media Type

Unique Titles per Year (US)

Unique Titles Per Year (World)

Conversion Factor

Total Terabytes (annual U.S.)

Total Terabytes (annual worldwide)

CD – Audio (2002)

33,443

90,000

0.650 GB per item

22

58.0

CD ROM (2002)

850

1,700

0.650 GB per item

0.55

1.1

DVD – Video (2001)

4,000

10,000

4.38 GB per item

18

43.8

 

Totals:

40.55

102.9

Source: How much information 2003

Table 5.3 lists the estimated accumulated stock of titles for each optical storage medium. Note that CD-ROMs and DVDs have roughly the same number of titles available, despite the fact that CD-ROMs have been around for 12 years longer.

Table 5.3: Accumulated stock of the 3 optical media types – 2003 sources

Media Type

Unique Titles (US)

Unique Titles (World)

Conversion Factor

Total Terabytes (U.S.)

Total Terabytes (worldwide)

CD – Audio (2002)

0.5 million

1.5 million

0.650 GB per item

366

975

CD ROM (2002)

15,000

20,000

0.650 GB per item

10

12

DVD – Video (2001)

14,000

20,000

4.38 GB per item

61

88

 

Totals:

437

1,075

Source: How much information 2003

Tables 5.4 and 5.5 show the slight decrease in CD-audio title production and the sharp increases in CD-ROM and DVD title production since the last iteration of the “How Much Information” study.

 

Table 5.4: Comparison of title production for 3 optical media types – 2000 sources vs. 2003 sources

Media Type

% change

Year

Unique Titles per Year (US)

Unique Titles Per Year (World)

CD - Audio

-14%

1999

38,900

105,135

2002

33,443

90,000

CD ROM

70%

1999

500

1,000

2002

850

1,700

DVD – Video

33%

1999

3,000

5,000

2001

4,000

10,000

Source: How much information 2003

 

Table 5.5: Comparison of total size in terabytes for 3 optical media types – 2000 sources vs. 2003 sources

Media Type

Year

TB per Year (US)

TB Per Year (World)

CD - Audio

1999

22

58

2002

22

58

CD ROM

1999

0.33

0.65

2002

0.55

1.1

DVD – Video

1999

13

22

2001

18

43.8

Source: How much information 2003

 

I. CD-AUDIO

Original Information Stored on Audio CDs

Annual Production of Titles

World. To estimate how many CD-audio originals are created each year worldwide, we use RIAA statistics regarding the US market share and US record releases (see below). The United States holds a 37% share of the world music market and releases about 33,443 items per year, as of 2002. Therefore, by our best estimate, the world produces roughly 90,000 original titles per year, equivalent to 59 TB (uncompressed).  We acknowledge that using market share to estimate production of originals is questionable; these figures serve as placeholders until a better reference is found.

United States. From 1992 to 1999, there was an upward trend for CD title production in the United States. Between 1999 and 2001, title production of CDs in the United States decreased by 18%, falling from 38,900 to 31,734 releases. In 2002 there were 33,443 new releases, which is an increase over 2001 but still represents 14% fewer titles than the peak in 1999. The 2002 releases are equal to about 22 TB of new information (uncompressed). (Preceding statistics supplied by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and include re-releases as well as brand new releases.)

RECORDINGS ON VINYL

The vinyl disc (or LP) is the oldest sound recording medium. According to the statistics of the Syndicat National de l'Edition Phonographique (2001), the stock of vinyl discs since 1984 can be estimated to be more than 4.6 billion units. In recent years, other sound recording formats such as the CD have largely replaced vinyl; the market share of vinyl among all sound recordings represents 0.36% (13.5 million units annually out of 3.7 billion units worldwide). If we suppose that the average duration of a vinyl disc is only 30 minutes, the annual flow of content on vinyl discs is thus equivalent to 34,290 TB.

Source: ENST Report 2003

Accumulated Stock

With proper handling, CDs should have a life expectancy of 70 – 200 years, according to the Optical Storage Technology Association. However, many CDs do not receive proper handling and many others (e.g. CDs sent out as promotional material) are discarded immediately upon receipt. CD-Rs are particularly vulnerable, because data may only be written to them once. If a mistake is made during the recording process, the erroneous disk must be trashed. About 1 out of 20 CDs are discarded or become unusable for some reason (scratches, problems during recording). Therefore estimates of CD-audio and CD-ROMS in the following section are adjusted to reflect a decay/destruction rate of 5%.

As with other digital media, there may also be equipment-based preservation issues. What is the life cycle of the equipment to read a CD? Technical standards change rapidly -- we may be seeing a shift from CD to DVD right now that would make CD equipment obsolete, or the density might change.

World. Again, in order to estimate the world’s stock of titles, we use the U.S. share of the music market (37%) and extrapolate from our U.S. total (564,406). By this method we arrive at an estimate of 1.5 million titles worldwide, equivalent to 975 TB.

United States. The All Music Guide (a comprehensive database tool used by industry leaders containing mostly U.S. and some U.K. titles) reports a total of 664,008 albums (575,192 popular and 88,816 classical), as of 1/29/2003. Assuming that 85% of these are available on CD (with the rest only on vinyl or cassette), this means that the stock of original CD titles would be about 564,406 equivalent to 366 TB.

If one adds up the past 10 years of CD releases posted by the RIAA, one arrives at a total of 306,577 titles (2000 data not available); this gives us a lower bound for the stock of CD originals in the United States as about 200 TB.

CD burners provide another source of original content. Users may duplicate software and CD titles, but they may also create new musical compilations, by selecting from downloaded MP3 files or CDs. In this instance, the individual songs are exact copies, but the combination of songs is unique. In 2001, 3.7 billion blank CD-Rs were sold worldwide; in April 2002, sales of blank CD-Rs exceeded those of pre-recorded music CDs for the first time, according to a recent article in the Sacramento News and Review. Industry estimates say 6 billion blank CDs will be sold worldwide in 2003 – that’s one for every person alive today and represents an additional 3,900 PB of data annually. 140 million people now own writeable drives and another 44 million people will acquire one this year, according to Wired Magazine. Two-thirds (67%) of CD burner owners report using their burner to copy music in some way; the most common uses for CD burners are making CDs for friends and family (54%) and making CD compilations (51%), according to a study sponsored by the RIAA.

Even with the demise of Napster, peer-to-peer music downloading still thrives. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) estimates that in May 2002 there were approximately three million users and 500 million files available for copying at any one time on all of the peer-to-peer services worldwide. There are approximately 200,000 Web and FTP sites hosting or linking to about 100 million recorded music files; 99% of these files are unauthorized. An RIAA study reports that of the music consumers with Internet access who have downloaded music, 52% have made copies of that music. See the Internet section for more details on file-sharing and P2P.

RECORDINGS AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

The Library of Congress (LOC) has some 2.6 million sound recordings, the largest public collection of sound recordings. The LOC collection includes more than 500,000 LPs; 450,000 78-rpm discs; more than 500,000 unpublished discs, 200,000 compact discs; 175,000 tape reels; 150,000 45-rpm discs; and 100,000 cassettes. These include spoken word and radio broadcasts. All these sound recordings together equal about 1,200 TB.

Copies of Information Stored/Published on Audio CDs

Annual Production of Copies

World. During 2002, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), 2.2 billion audio CDs were sold worldwide, a decrease of 6% since 2001. IFPI attributes this decline to “mass downloading from unauthorised file sharing on the internet and the massive proliferation of CD burning, combined with competition from other entertainment sectors and economic uncertainty on consumer spending.” The worldwide retail audio market represents about 1,500 PB of data annually.

Another index of flow is found in the replication market, as reported by the International Recording Media Association (IRMA). Replication is the manufacturing of a CD from the raw elements, where the data is physically embedded in the plastic medium. (Contrast this with duplication, where the data is burned onto an already manufactured, blank CD-R.) 4.7 billion CD-audio units and 3.3 billion units of CD-ROM were replicated worldwide in 2002.   Add to this the 5.2 billion units of CD-R and we find a total possible flow of about 8,600 PB in CD copies.

United States. During 2001, according to the RIAA, 881.9 million CDs were sold in the United States. From IRMA, we find that 1.6 billion units of CD-audio and 1.5 billion units of CD-ROM were replicated in 2002. Add to this the 2 billion units of CD-R and we find a total possible flow of about 3,300 TB. (Note: these statistics are for North America, not just the United States.)

CD PIRACY

Pirated CDs represent a growing category of duplicated information. According to IFPI, in 2001 worldwide sales of pressed pirate CDs were 500 million units, up from 475 million in 2000, with pirate CD-R discs estimated at around 450 million units, up from 165 million in 2000. IFPI estimates that in 2001, 28% of all CDs sold were pirate – up from 20% the year before. The total is split roughly evenly between CD audio discs made on factory production lines and those made in smaller scale CD-R operations in garages and labs.

Accumulated Stock

World. Between 1983 (the launch of the format) and 2001 (the most recent statistics available from IFPI), 23.8 billion CDs have been sold worldwide.

United States. The stock of audio CDs in the United States can be estimated by summing the CD unit sales since the format became popular. The RIAA’s year-end statistics for CD shipments only date back to 1990—these 13 years of shipments add up to 8.9 billion units. A lower estimate is provided by the ENST Report estimating the U.S. stock of retail CDs at 4.5 billion units.

II. CD-ROM

Original Information Stored on CD-ROM

Annual Production of Titles

World. Between 2001 and 2002, 1,700 new CD-ROM titles were added to CD-ROMs in Print, an international directory published by Gale Research. This figure includes business applications (such as word processing and spreadsheet packages), games, reference tools, and instructional programs. 1,700 titles equals about 1.1 TB of new information in one year (uncompressed). This represents a 70% percent increase from 1999, when CD-ROM titles were added to this directory at the rate of 1,000 per year (.65 TB).

United States. For CD-ROM title production in the United States, we might extrapolate based upon the number of CD-ROM companies in the United States: roughly 50% of the companies listed in CD-ROM’s in Print are located in the U.S. Furthermore, the United States has 44% of the CD-ROM replication market, according to IRMA. However, neither of these statistics can be definitively correlated to title production. If we assume the United States produces 50% of the titles, we find that 850 CD-ROM titles are produced each year, equivalent to 0.55 TB of new information.

Accumulated Stock

World. According to the 2002 edition of CD-ROMs in Print, internationally there are more than 20,000 unique CD-ROM titles, equivalent to 13 TB.

United States. Using the method for estimating the United States share of the CD-ROM title creation described above, we estimate that there are 10,000 CD-ROM titles published in the U.S. However, this number is probably low, given that Macromedia alone has a catalog of 10,000 software titles. Another data point comes from the All Game Guide, which lists 11,871 titles for a PC (Mac or IBM) platform, as of January 29, 2003. (This index includes video games, reference, educational, and other software.) Finally, the CD-ROM Guide Bargain Finder listed a total of 29,000 results—there may be a fair amount of duplication here. A reasonable estimate for the stock of CD-ROM originals is 15,000, with a size of 10 TB. [???]

Copies of Information Stored/Published on CD-ROM

Annual Production of Copies / Accumulated Stock

World.   We do not have statistics for the number of CD-ROM copies distributed worldwide. However, relying once again on IRMA’s replication statistics, we find that at least 17 billion CD-ROMS have been replicated since 1997, for a total capacity of 11 exabytes.

United States.   We do not have statistics for the number of CD-ROM copies distributed in the United States. However, relying once again on IRMA’s replication statistics, we find that at least 8 billion CD-ROMS have been replicated since 1997.

AOL DISKS

AOL CD-ROMs constitute one significant category of duplicated CD-ROMs. Since the mid-1990s, millions of free disks containing AOL software have been distributed worldwide via magazines, letterboxes, cereal packets, ATMs, service stations and even airline and sports stadium seats. AOL will not release numbers, but it estimated in 1997 that when stacked up, all the CDs it had mailed to date would top the height of Chicago’s Sears Tower. Direct Marketing Business Intelligence put the total number at around 300 million. This excess has prompted the creation of protest sites such as No More AOL CDs, which intends to collect 1 million disks and then deliver them to AOL’s Virginia headquarters—so far, this group has accumulated 150,000 disks. Other sites display the different disk designs, suggest “101 Uses for AOL disks,” or offer a recycling option, along with a chance to set Guinness World Record by contributing unwanted disks.

 

III. DVD

In 2001, United States consumers spent more money on video than on any other entertainment option, according to the DVD Entertainment Group.

Source: DVD Entertainment Group

Furthermore, in the United States DVD currently outsells VHS two to one and DVD players are in 40% of North American homes, according to IRMA. The average price of players sold in the U.S. in 2002 was $145. For 2003, the CEA is forecasting an increase in units shipped of 17.5%, to 20.1 million units. The average unit price is expected to fall to about $125 in 2003, according to Magnetic Media Information Services.

DVD players are in 10% of the world’s TV households – nearly 100 million homes. It is expected that nearly half of global TV households will own a player by 2010, according to Mindbranch Global DVD Facts and Forecasts.

As of 2002, the penetration of DVD technology in different countries varies widely:

Table 5.6: International Penetration of DVD Technology

Continent / Country

Number of players as of 2002

Percentage of homes with a DVD Player

North America

53 million

46%

Australia / New Zealand

2 million

22%

Western Europe

28 million

18%

Japan

6 million

13%

Middle East

1 million

10%

Asia

18 million

5%

Latin America

2 million

2%

Central/Eastern Europe

1.5 million

2%

India

300,000

< 1%

Africa

500,000

< 1%

Source: Screen Digest / Adams Media Research

DVD output also varies by country:

Table 5.7: DVD Replication by Country

Continent / Country

DVD output (replication)

North America

47%

Western Europe

18%

Asia

13%

Japan

9%

Rest of the world

4%

Source: Singulus Technologies

The DVD standard continues to evolve. Two additional categories of DVD have emerged in the past 3 years: DVD-ROM and DVD-audio. DVD-ROM is intended for computer applications. DVD-Audio is a format specifically designed to provide the highest possible audio fidelity capable on DVD--the audio fidelity of DVD-Audio far exceeds the quality of conventional CDs and audio on DVD-Video.

In 2000, the numbers for DVD-ROM and DVD-audio were negligible, but now they constitute 8% and 0.2% of the DVDs replicated. There are more than 300 DVD-audio titles available in the United States, and 250 more titles will be released in 2003.    

DVD recorders, used to record TV programs onto DVD, first became available to consumers in 1999. Four years later, worldwide sales are projected to reach 2.7 million units, and sales of DVD recorders may surpass sales of players by 2005, according to MediaLine. In March, Sony announced the first model of next-generation DVD recorder, a high-definition version that holds more than five times as much data as current DVDs, according to the Wall Street Journal. This product, which uses a blue laser to achieve the higher density recording, has been developed in response to the popularity of high-definition television sets. If the current U.S. catalog of DVDs were converted to HD-DVD, the storage requirements could leap to 61 TB to 300 TB.

Original Information Stored on DVD

Annual Production of Titles

World. The rate of worldwide DVD title production doubled between 1999 and 2001. In 1999, 5,000 new titles (22 TB) were added; in 2000, 10,000 new titles (43.8 TB) appeared, according to Jim Taylor's DVD FAQ. This tremendous rate of content growth is due to the conversion of legacy film content. For details on the creation of new film content, see Film.

United States. As of 2001, the United States produces about 4,000 DVD titles per year (more than 100 per week). This represents a 33% increase from 1999 when the United States produced about 3,000 new titles per year. 4,000 DVDs equal about 18 TB of information.

Accumulated Stock

World. The DVD Entertainment Group reports that there are nearly 20,000 DVD-video titles available worldwide, as of January 2003. Remarkably, after only 6 years, this new format has as many titles as the 20-year-old CD-ROM format; as noted earlier, this is due to the relative ease of converting and enhancing legacy content compared to developing brand new content for a CD-ROM title. 20,000 DVDs equal about 88 TB.

United States. As of 2001, there were 14,000 DVD-video titles available in the United States, according to Jim Taylor’s DVD FAQ. This equals about 61 TB.

Copies of Information Stored/Published on DVD

Annual Production of Copies

World. We do not have statistics on the number of DVD copies sold through retail each year worldwide. However, using IRMA’s replication statistics, we find that 1.7 billion units of DVD-video were replicated in 2002, as well as 298 million DVD-ROMs. This adds up to 9 million TB in DVD copies.

United States. In 2002, 685 million DVD copies were sold (retail) in the United States. For a second data point, we use IRMA’s replication statistics, we find that 960 million units of DVD-video were replicated in 2002, as well as 110 million DVD-ROMs. This adds up to about 5 million TB in DVD copies.

Accumulated Stock

World. We do not have updated statistics for the number of DVD copies distributed worldwide. However, we know that 1.6 billion DVDs have been replicated since the launch of the format in 1997.

United States. A total of 1.36 billion DVDs have been shipped to retail in North America since the launch of the format in 1997, according to the DVD Entertainment Group

REFERENCES

 

Release date: October 27, 2003. © 2003 Regents of the University of California