DVD Producers Hedge Bets in High-Def Format War

Posted Mon Jul 24, 2006 at 11:05 AM PDT by
Blue & Red Discs

With studio enthusiasm for standard DVD extras cooling, the future of supplemental content on the next-gen high-def formats appears uncertain, said the industry's top producers to fans at Comicon in San Diego this past weekend.

As a part of the annual DigitalBits.com DVD-producer panel last Saturday, July 22, at the convention, industry vets including Robert Meyer Burnett ('X2,' 'Chronicles of Narnia'), Charlie de Lauzirika ('Alien Quadrilogy,' 'Gladiator,' 'Blade Runner') and TV DVD guru Scott Devine ('Friends,' 'La Femme Nikita,' 'Batman Beyond') fielded questions from fans in attendance, including studio "burn out" of extras on DVD.

"The truth is, studios are bored of special features... They'd rather get rid of them all together," said Burnett. "It's very expensive to send a crew to work on DVD extras for a big movie like 'Narnia,' and there's no real cost-benefit analysis for the studios."

That has led the major studios to increasingly issue separate movie-only and feature-loaded special editions of top titles on standard DVD, said Burnett, a trend which has in part led to the lack of exclusive extras on early Blu-ray and HD DVD releases. And it is a situation which may not change for the foreseeable future as the studios decide on a gameplan, said panelists.

"I don't think [extras on high-def formats] is going to be very stable for a long time," said Charles de Lauzirika, when asked what, if any, kinds of exclusive content DVD producers are currently working on for the next gen formats. "The studios are still working it out."

Tags: Industry Forecasts, Comic-Con (all tags)