Ed, according to my camera repair guys, it is real. At least it is for their photojournalist clients, their "kidnapers" and their wedding photograpers. Their largest wedding photo client has completely switched from Hassleblads to digital Nikons over the last 2 years.
Of course, when a digital body conks out, you usually don't even attempt to repair it. The lenses are a different story.
IMO silver based photography will be around for a long while yet in the MF, LF and ULF realms. Whether the cost accountants will allow the Kodaks, Fujis, and other big co.s to continue manufacturing the film is another question.
A big freezer seems like a good idea.