Blu-ray Supporting Companies Respond to Paramount HD DVD Announcement

Posted Mon Aug 20, 2007 at 06:41 PM PDT by
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Three of the primary players in the Blu-ray camp issued a rare joint statement late Monday in response to Paramount's decision to drop support of Blu-ray.

Sent via email to various news outlets, the statement includes quotes from the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), as well as representatives of Blu-ray backing studios Disney and Fox.

In its statement, the BDA expresses what can only be described as bewilderment at why Paramount and sister studio DreamWorks would choose to exclusively support HD DVD at a time when the sales gulf between the two formats seems to be so clearly in Blu-ray's favor.

"The decision seems oddly timed given Blu-ray's tremendous momentum both with consumers and with retail," said Andy Parsons, Chairman, Blu-ray Disc Association US Promotions Committee. "Blu-ray title sales continue to outpaceHD-DVD sales by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, and major retailers have expressed a strong preference for Blu-ray.

"Moreover, the price delta between HD DVD and Blu-ray players has been greatly reduced in the past few months, a trend that is on its way to eliminating any perceived cost advantage the HD DVD format has claimed to have. Under these circumstances, we can only imagine what could have enticed Paramount to walk away from a format that is clearly selling significantly more software than the HD-DVD format."

The BDA statement appears to make thinly-veiled reference to rumors that the HD DVD camp paid Paramount/DreamWorks up to $150 million in exchange for its exclusive support, an accusation that was similarly leveled at the BDA following its widely-reported exclusivity announcements with Blockbuster and Target.

Fox and Disney, for their part, took the opportunity to showcase their own recent Blu-ray-related announcements, and to emphasize their support and excitement for the format.

Referring to Fox's announcement earlier today that it would release 29 new Blu-ray titles before the end of 2007, Mike Dunn, President Worldwide, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, said, "Given that Blu-ray has consistently outsold HD DVD all year, and this is the case for any titles released by any studio in both formats, we believe that the time is right for us to accelerate our activities and help convert the nearly 60 million high definition households worldwide into Blu-ray households."

"By the end of this calendar year there will be expansive availability of technically vibrant releases featuring never-before-seen, advanced BD-J interactivity as well as a broad offering of playback devices at attractive prices that will prove to any doubting consumers once and for all that Blu-ray is the only way."

Similarly, a statement from Bob Chapek, President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment references the studio's commitment late last week to release four key tentpole titles in 2008: "The proven Blu-ray technology has allowed us to take our films to new heights, fully utilizing the larger capacity and interactive capabilities for an incredible all-new consumer experience. The strides that we've made with this format are just the tip of the iceberg and we are confident that consumers will be astounded by the level of entertainment that can only be achieved by using the maximum capacity of the Blu-ray Disc format."

What's next in the ever-intensifying war of words? Stay tuned...

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