Money Talks in the Battle Between Hi-Def Formats

Apparently HD DVD will not go away without a fight and recently two heavy weight Hollywood Studios, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation, have issued a press release stating that they will back HD DVD exclusively.  This means that major holiday offerings like Shrek the Third, which grossed over USD $300,000,000 theatrically in North America will be offered only in the HD DVD format.  This is a major boost for HD DVD which had lost ground to Blu-ray with the announcement that Blockbuster would only stock Blu-ray titles and retailers like Target would only stock Blu-ray players in their stores.

So what caused this major shift toward HD DVD for Paramount, which previously offered titles in both Blu-ray and HD DVD, and DreamWorks Animation, which had yet to release a title in either format?  According to the corporate spin, the official comment is that HD DVD players are cheaper and better price positioned for the consumer.  But many feel there’s an ulterior motive working here that may be rooted in a financial gain for the two Hollywood Studios.

As reported in the New York Time, (published 8/21/07), according to two Viacom executives (parent company of Paramount) under the condition of anonymity, “Paramount and DreamWorks Animation together will receive about $150 million in financial incentives for their commitment to HD DVD”.  These incentives apparently will be cash payments and promotional guarantees like using the HD DVD release of Shrek the Third in HD DVD player marketing campaigns.  Although none of the entities involved confirmed this transaction took place or played any part in their decision, it’s entirely possible that HD DVD is throwing out all the stops in a last ditch effort to make a huge impact during the lucrative holiday season.

Time will tell whether this gamble pays out, but it looks like the HD DVD contingency has already put their money where their mouth is and will not back down without a fight, but will Blu-ray take the beating or will the consumer ultimately pay the price?  I guess time will tell but one thing is for sure, Money TALKS!

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  1. This is getting more and more interesting. Recently i read that the big hit movies “Spiderman 3” and “Pirates 3” will ONLY be released in blu-ray format. If this exclusive release battle carries on consumers will have to start looking into hybrid players capable of playing blu-ray and hd-dvd. I prefer a blu-ray player myself, mainly because I have a PS3 and I dont want to see the format die out. HD DVD would be a better format in the institutional industry because of its cost and use, but sony has a hand in that too with its PDD format used ONLY for business data archiving and backup. I guess only time will tell which format can capture the largest audience.

    Comment by Blu-ray supporter — August 27, 2007 #

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