Top Studio Execs Spar Over Blu-ray, HD DVD

Posted Wed Sep 19, 2007 at 11:37 AM PDT by

The high-def format war hit new heights yesterday as CEOs representing Disney, Fox, Paramount and Warner all weighed in on the ongoing battle for next-gen supremacy.

Each of the execs made their comments during an investor conference in New York sponsored by Goldman Sachs, and if there was any doubt that the format war wasn't being discussed at the highest levels of these companies, it can be put to rest.

Making the strongest statements were Disney's Robert Iger and Fox's Rupert Murdoch, who each reaffirmed their companies' support for Blu-ray, while criticising Paramount's recent decision to support HD DVD only.

"The public is going to want Blu-ray. The public can tell the difference," said Murdoch. "Paramount switched out the other day. God knows why."

Disney's Iger concurred. "We believe it's a no-brainer that the industry should be behind Blu-ray." The exec went on to state that his company had not taken any money to choose Blu-ray.

Meanwhile, Philippe Dauman, the CEO of Viacom (which owns Paramount) defended his company's decision to support HD DVD only, saying that supporting both formats "creates some inherent inefficiencies, and we would like to see the HD format have success." Dauman refused comment on reports that Paramount/DreamWorks had received $150 million dollars in exchange for its exclusive support of HD DVD.

For its part, Warner emphasized its agnostic stance in the format war, with Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons saying it's still too early to predict which side will win.

"The consumer doesn't care about the format. It's linear penetration that counts," said Parsons. "Our objective is not to take sides on the format but to do what we need to do to get maximum penetration."

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Tags: Warner, Paramount, Fox, Disney (all tags)