Warner Says "We're Still Onboard with Both Formats"

Posted Mon Nov 5, 2007 at 10:00 AM PST by
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Nearly a week after a Warner VP appeared to indicate otherwise, the studio told High-Def Digest that it has no plans to cease its dual-format stance, pledging a strong line-up for both Blu-ray and HD DVD in 2008.

News that Warner was eyeing a change in its high-def strategy spread like wildfire last week, following a story in industry trade Home Media Magazine that included a series of comments attributed to Warner VP of High-Definition Media Dan Silverberg at last week's Blu-ray Festival in Los Angeles.

"One thing that may be changing is our strategy," Silverberg was quoted as saying. "When both formats launched and hardware prices were high, we made a decision to support both formats and let the consumer decide. But now that hardware pricing is affordable for both Blu-ray and HD DVD, it appears consumers no longer want to decide -- so the notion of staying in two formats for the duration is something we are re-evaluating."

Silverberg reportedly followed up his remarks by citing strong Blu-ray sales for the studio's top-selling '300' release, saying that "we can definitely talk Blu-ray" and that Warner is "committed to the format," a set of comments that seemed to suggest that the studio was considering a move to exclusive support of the Blu-ray format.

Following several days of breathless speculation from fans and industry insiders alike, Warner is now breaking its silence on the matter, saying that despite Silverberg's comments the studio has no plans to shift its high-def strategy.

Speaking to High-Def Digest, Jim Noonan, SVP of Strategic Promotion and Communication for Warner Home Entertainment Group said, "I can tell you that Warner's position has not changed, and I know that Dan did not intend to suggest that wasn't the case. We support both formats and we have made no decision to alter that policy, nor are there any such announcements coming, or being planned."

As for speculation that the studio is waiting for Q4 sales results before making an announcement of format exclusivity -- perhaps even as soon as this January's CES in Las Vegas -- Noonan shot down any such short-term scenarios.

"Like any major company, we are always reviewing our strategies in every aspect of our business, it is what smart companies do. I can't say what may happen five, ten years down the line. But right now, Warner Bros. has made no decision to change course. We are still onboard with both formats, and will continue [with a strong line-up of new releases and catalog titles], just as we have in the past in supporting HD DVD and Blu-ray."

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