Sony's much-maligned UMD movie format, which launched in the UK alongside the PlayStation Portable at the start of September, has given pause to critics by clocking up a surprisingly strong first month of sales.
Over 100,000 UMD movies were sold in the UK in the four weeks between the launch of the PSP and the end of September, according to monthly figures from the Official UK Chart Company, with actual sales thought to be somewhat higher again.
That represents around one per cent of the overall UK consumer video market - not exactly taking the market by storm, but certainly a strong start, and the new format's performance was even better on certain key new releases, where it accounted for up to 5 per cent of unit sales.
Underworld was the best-sellling UMD title, with sales of 7,487 units, followed closely by The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (7,136 units) and xXx - The Next Level (6,996 units).
The attach rate suggests that with just shy of a quarter of a million PSP consoles sold in the UK to date, up to half of consumers have already tried out UMD movies - with the question now being whether Sony can ramp up sales of the format in the run up to Christmas and beyond, or whether UK consumers will see portable video as a curiosity rather than a viable ongoing media investment.
So far, there's little data from the USA or Japan to suggest which way consumers are leaning on this question on a global basis - although in the Far East, there's anecdotal evidence to suggest that bundling DVD and UMD copies of a movie together has been a successful approach in some instances.