TOKYO Reacting to DVD market expansion, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. plans to increase its prerecorded DVD disk production from 6 million disks per month to 14 million disks per month by the end of this year.
With its introduction of a DVD-RAM recorder and drives, the company will ramp up DVD-RAM recordable disk production from 100,000 disks per month (mostly 2.6 Gbyte disks at present) to 300,000 disks per month by autumn. From now on, the 4.7-Gbyte RAM disk will be the mainstream, said a Matsushita spokesman.
For the U.S. market, where DVD-Video player sales are highest, Matsushita plans to expand the capacity of prerecorded DVD disks from 4.6 million to 10 million disks per month.
Matsushita has three disk production bases in North America. The Panasonic Disc Services Corp. factory (Torrance, Calif.) can produce 4 million disks per month. Matsushita Universal Media Services, a joint venture with Universal Music Group established in May of last year, can produce about 600,000 disks per month at its facility in Pinckneyville, Ill. The Guadalajara, Mexico factory of Matsushita Media Manufacturing, a joint venture with Kodak, will begin operations this summer. At those three factories, Matsushita intends to produce 10 million disks per month.
A factory in Ireland, also a part of Matsushita's joint venture with Kodak, will begin operation with a monthly capacity of 1.2 million units this summer. In Japan, Matsushita will produce 1.05 million disks per month at its headquarters, raising that number to 2.8 million per month by the end of this year.
The prerecorded disks include DVD-Video, DVD-Audio and DVD-ROM disks. About 90 percent of the prerecorded disks are DVD-Video disks, according to the Matsushita spokesman. The ratio of PCs with built-in DVD-ROM drives is rapidly increasing, but PC software in DVD-ROM is limited, so users are watching DVD-Video titles on PCs, he said.