SAN JOSE, CALIF. - The recording media industry has finally given up announcing the death of audio and videocassette tapes, as new markets spur demand for both products. With the compact disc taking over music applications, demand for audio cassette tapes is coming from the spoken-word market. Molders of audio cassette shells and components, such as Lenco of Waverly, Neb., believe in the future of audio cassettes.
Lenco spokesman Daryl O. Chapelle said the company sees a ``huge market'' for audio cassettes, particularly in the spoken-word market.
Jeff Baker, president and chief executive officer of CPU Inc., formerly Cassette Productions Unlimited, in Arden, N.C., said that much in the industry has changed to give the spoken-word market a new image.
The market today is highly visible, Baker said at Replitech International 1996, held June 4-6 in San Jose. Customers are technically proficient, he added.
Audio Duplication Industry USA estimates that in 1995, of the 1.11 million audio cassette units produced in the United States, music and the spoken word shared equally in the pie with 50 percent each.
Projections for 1999 show a drop in the number of audio cassettes produced to 1.01 million. However, the spoken word will make up 74 percent of those units.The spoken-word market includes books on tape, and tapes on fitness, self-improvement, religion, motivation, promotions, and education.
The market for VHS will continue to grow despite digital video discs on the horizon, ac-cording to Michael McCausland, director, duplication products, in the Business & Professional Products Group for Sony Elec-tronics Inc. in Montvale, N.J.
``DVD is not a plug-and-play technology,'' McCausland said.
Sony's VHS duplication business was up 35 percent in 1995, which represented a 10 percent growth rate over 1994.
Terence D. O'Kelly, director of sales and marketing for BASF Corp.'s Professional Products group, predicts the end of audio tape will happen ``sometime in the next millennium.''
O'Kelly said there were more VCRs sold last year than any previous year - still making VHS the primary medium for movies for the vast majority of consumers.
``[Tape] can still outperform any other media,'' he said. ``If storage is more important, tape beats optical media in durability and in terms of linear storage ability.''
O'Kelly said DVD may be so ``infected with problems'' that it will not pose a significant threat to other media.
``Tape is ready for the future,'' he said. ``Optical media are not.''