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Universal at CES


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202 replies to this topic

#1 of 203 OFFLINE   Peter-PP

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Posted January 07 2008 - 02:31 AM

HD DVD is still alive and fighting back. Paramount/Dreamworks and Universal are staying with HD DVD!


Quote:
"The HD DVD camp has always stuck to a simple set of principles," said Ken
Graffeo, executive vice president of HD strategic marketing for Universal
Studios Home Entertainment, and co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group.
"Give consumers who buy into HD DVD what they paid for. In fact, give them
more than they expected. Show them that quality and value go hand in hand
with HD DVD. Show them what advanced interactivity really means and how it
can enrich your favorite movies that you watch over and over."


http://online.wsj.co...SB1199...n_what s_news

#2 of 203 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted January 07 2008 - 04:18 AM

I'd have been shocked had they said anything but that.

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#3 of 203 OFFLINE   Nick Graham

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Posted January 07 2008 - 04:27 AM

Just like every other studio that has flipped sides, they will publicly be "100% Committed" to whichever format they use right up until the minute they announce they are switching. It's just how the studios operate.

#4 of 203 OFFLINE   Sean Bryan

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Posted January 07 2008 - 04:52 AM

denial
anger
bargaining
depression
acceptance
I don't believe in transcending the genre, I believe IN the genre - Joss Whedon

#5 of 203 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted January 07 2008 - 06:39 AM

here's what I don't understand- smaller, niche DVD producers (like Blue Underground, Mondo Macabro, and others) routinely put out discs with runs in the low tens of thousands. And this is for content they have to license, not anything they own.
In a niche market like there exists for HDMs right now- when classic catalog titles can barely move 10,000 units...why can't two studios exist and continue to put out content on the format? There are almost one million capable HD DVD players out there- why not try to take advantage of the captive audience they already have? What are they losing not immediately flipping over to Bd?
Hell, they might even pick up market share in a few areas if they can price good quality discs $5 cheaper than an equivilent Bd on average, and play the BOGO game that Bd did most of last year.
Most of these one million owners aren't going to suddenly get rid of their players.
If they can get sales up with the people that are 'stuck' with HD DVD players, and Toshiba can bring in new HD DVD disc customers due to sales of HD DVD/Bd combo players, they may be able to ride out what should be a slow mass adoption on the Bd side.

#6 of 203 OFFLINE   SD_Brian

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Posted January 07 2008 - 07:06 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
In a niche market like there exists for HDMs right now- when classic catalog titles can barely move 10,000 units...why can't two studios exist and continue to put out content on the format?

Because Paramount and Universal are not niche studios, they are major corporations whose stockholders will eventually demand they get on board with BluRay.

#7 of 203 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted January 07 2008 - 07:25 AM

Quote:
Because Paramount and Universal are not niche studios, they are major corporations whose stockholders will eventually demand they get on board with BluRay.

why?
Honestly , why? There were figures last year that showed catalog titles like Bullitt and The Getaway actually moving less units on Bd than they did on HD DVD.
Bd won the sales ratio race 52 weeks last year, and yet that doesn't seem significant enough to Warner for them to kick out the major catalog titles like Casablanca, Forbidden Planet and others- things that are not being held back because of technological issues.
They'll come because warner is exclusive now and these titles can be ported over- but it doesn't mean they are going to sell compellingly well.

I don't see the compelling interest for Paramount or Uni to move....just yet.

#8 of 203 OFFLINE   Jim_K

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Posted January 07 2008 - 07:34 AM

Quote:
I'd have been shocked had they said anything but that.

Yeah I agree. Geez it's only been 3 days since Blu-Friday and they're probably just as shell-shocked as Toshiba, what else would anyone expect them to say about HD DVD at this time?

If they're not locked in to a Paramount-like contract I'd expect they'll be re-evaluating their position with HDM in the next few months.
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#9 of 203 OFFLINE   Chuck Anstey

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Posted January 07 2008 - 07:50 AM

Quote:
In a niche market like there exists for HDMs right now- when classic catalog titles can barely move 10,000 units...why can't two studios exist and continue to put out content on the format? There are almost one million capable HD DVD players out there- why not try to take advantage of the captive audience they already have? What are they losing not immediately flipping over to Bd?
I assume it is because they believe (and probably rightly so) that with the instant switch to BR, they can stop any more HD-DVD players from being sold. Therefore almost all new HDM players sold will be BR. If they kept neutral then there was still incentive and hope in buying HD-DVD over BR. Sure they are sacrificing some of the 1 million HD-DVD owners who are not format neutral and don't want BR for various reasons but they are looking at a future market of 10+ million so the short-term sacrifice is small compared to that.

#10 of 203 OFFLINE   Craig F

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Posted January 07 2008 - 08:04 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Bryan
denial
anger
bargaining
depression
acceptance
My exact thought to Toshiba's response.

#11 of 203 OFFLINE   SD_Brian

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Posted January 07 2008 - 08:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
Bd won the sales ratio race 52 weeks last year, and yet that doesn't seem significant enough to Warner for them to kick out the major catalog titles like Casablanca, Forbidden Planet and others- things that are not being held back because of technological issues.

I don't dare try to explain the logic or lack thereof of format-neutral studio release strategies but, if BluRay discs are outselling HD-DVD discs by a 2-1 or 3-1 ratio overall, the realities of market demands will eventually force Paramount and Universal to at least support BluRay, if not flip completely. Money is king. In the movie business, profit will trump principal every time so I don't foresee Paramount and Universal remaining HD-DVD exclusive simply out of loyalty.

I say that completely dispassionately as I've yet to adopt either format and find the whole "war" silly at best, pathetic at worst.

#12 of 203 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted January 07 2008 - 08:51 AM

Quote:
Because Paramount and Universal are not niche studios, they are major corporations whose stockholders will eventually demand they get on board with BluRay.

There is also a chance that Universals parent company could make Universal go format neutral. I do not pretend to know the inner workings of parent companies in relation to the companies that they own. But you would think that ether Universal could have there shareholder make the decision to go Blu, or Universals parent company may be able to make that decision for them? Or at least pressure them to go neutral.

I would love to know if there has been any communication between Sony and Universal since CES started. I see Universal being pressured constantly about going neutral and this would be Toshiba's worst nightmare at this point. As there is no way HD-DVD will last with just Paramount alone. It is admirable that Universal has stood by Toshiba even with WB going Blu. I call on Universal to at least step back from there personal feelings and to use there heads. For Universal this should not be about helping Toshiba stick it to Sony. This is about business and there is no need to stay with the format that is sinking fast. I would not exspect Universal to go Blu-ray only even though I wouldn't mind it. But Universal should at least go neutral as it would give them income from both formats. And if HD-DVD is so strong in the market then even with two studios they could make a come back. If it is true that Universal is working with Blu-ray test disc's then they must be getting ready for neutrality some time soon. At least for the possible that they are considering it and want to be ready for the Blu option to be put into play at a moments notice. There are many things that could go on but only the top people at Universal know what will happen for sure.

I call on Universal to go neutral, I personally would rather purchase Universal titles on Blu-ray than HD-DVD. There needs to be one format as they are not helping the cause of HD by prolonging the war. Universal's releases on HD-DVD have been top notch and I own a number of there HD titles in my HD library so far. HD-DVD is a good format but IMHO the course of this format war has become very clear. The format war was great short term because it help bring down costs but now it could very well hurt HDM. Universal needs to step back and take a deep breath and realize that even though it's not what they want, it has become inevitable Blu-ray has basically won and they need to jump on board and help unite all the studios under one format.
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#13 of 203 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted January 07 2008 - 09:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Posten
I'd have been shocked had they said anything but that.

My thoughts exactly. Neither of these studios are going to suddenly swap sides simply because a competitor has done so. There are large legally binding contracts between these companies and they aren't foolish enough to jeopardized large sums of cash for the (currently) very small sales volume of HDM. They'll be HD DVD supports until the day they aren't anymore. Not unlike how Warner always stated they were a neutral studio until suddenly they weren't.
DVD & Blu-ray - It's all about the movies!

#14 of 203 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted January 07 2008 - 09:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
why? Honestly , why?

Because we need one HD-format, not two, that´s why. Whether people "chose" HD DVD or Blu-ray, they took a minor gamble. When this war is over at some day, there are some unhappy people. For a while, at least.

#15 of 203 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted January 07 2008 - 10:09 AM

Quote:
Because we need one HD-format, not two, that´s why. Whether people "chose" HD DVD or Blu-ray, they took a minor gamble. When this war is over at some day, there are some unhappy people. For a while, at least.

and that is the argument from the persepctive of what is good for the consumer, or the cause of HDMs in general. I don't dispute that- I'm just arguing from the perspective of both studios (remember it's every man for himself here), and right now, I don't think they are losing the kind of money that the 2:1 ratio implies. I don't think, for instance, Universal is going to sell a ton of Patch Adams to the Bd crowd. Bd has 70% of the content providers aligned with it now, and the overwhelming perception they are the next standard. There shouldn't be very much inhibiting consumers adopting Bd now...unless they just couldn't care less right now.
If nothing else, Uni and Paramount need to remain HD DVD exclusive so the Bd only crowd can use them as an excuse when adoption rates don't take off (and studios don't make as much) as they expect.

#16 of 203 OFFLINE   Robin_B

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Posted January 07 2008 - 10:18 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
If nothing else, Uni and Paramount need to remain HD DVD exclusive so the Bd only crowd can use them as an excuse when adoption rates don't take off (and studios don't make as much) as they expect.

Adoption rates? what rate is that? is there some figure that we can use so in 6 months we can say "oh the adoption rate didn't reach X so we might as well go back to the format war"

It's going to take time for HDM to bleed into the mass market as it did for SD DVD no matter which side wins the war. You really think that mass adoption would come any quicker if WB had chosen to go with HD DVD? I seriously doubt it. It took 4 years before DVD outsold VHS in sales terms and there's no reason to expect any HD format to take an equal amount of time.
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#17 of 203 OFFLINE   SD_Brian

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Posted January 07 2008 - 10:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
I don't think, for instance, Universal is going to sell a ton of Patch Adams to the Bd crowd.
Patch Adams is available exclusively on HD-DVD and they're still losing the format war? Inconceivable! Posted Image
Quote:
If nothing else, Uni and Paramount need to remain HD DVD exclusive so the Bd only crowd can use them as an excuse when adoption rates don't take off (and studios don't make as much) as they expect.
Even if Paramount and Universal remained HD-DVD exclusive, do you honestly believe the combined output of just those two studios (and the porn industry, of course) will be enough to sustain the format?

#18 of 203 OFFLINE   Jari K

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Posted January 07 2008 - 10:44 AM

High-Def Digest | HD DVD & Blu-ray News and Reviews in High Definition[UPDATED]/1345

"UPDATE: We have received word from Paramount/DreamWorks that although they continue to support HD DVD, they will not be making any new high-def title announcements at CES 2008."

Now I can´t say that the other major companies made huge announcements at CES 2008, but this is not a very good sign.

Perhaps they had some titles ready to be announced, but now they´re back to the drawing board? We´re living in very interesting times.

#19 of 203 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted January 07 2008 - 10:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin_B
Adoption rates? what rate is that? is there some figure that we can use so in 6 months we can say "oh the adoption rate didn't reach X so we might as well go back to the format war"

It's going to take time for HDM to bleed into the mass market as it did for SD DVD no matter which side wins the war. You really think that mass adoption would come any quicker if WB had chosen to go with HD DVD? I seriously doubt it. It took 4 years before DVD outsold VHS in sales terms and there's no reason to expect any HD format to take an equal amount of time.

on your first point, I would tag the adoption rate to the percentage of HDMs , or rather just Bds, to the current sales DVDs. as well as comparing historical trends with DVDs start up.
Right now it is something like 2% of the DVD market with the dvd market in decline. If te DVD market continues to contract at 5% per year and Bd only manages to capture an extra 3 or 4% of a dwindling market, then I would think you could say adoption is growing slowly.

on your second point, yes I agree.

Quote:
Even if Paramount and Universal remained HD-DVD exclusive, do you honestly believe the combined output of just those two studios (and the porn industry, of course) will be enough to sustain the format?

Just their output? no I don't. If that were combined with Toshiba successfully selling lower cost Bd/HD DVD combo players- then yes I think the format could linger in the marketplace long enough to build up a library that would be compelling enough to become a feature capability in other CEs products.
And if that can happen, if Hd DVD capability becomes nearly as ubiquitous as Bd capability, then studios may be inclined to migrate back or over to HD DVD...if it continues to offer lower associated production costs.
And if we are talking about a slow protracted adoption of Bd, which it looks like we all agree on- then it follows that costs are NOT going to come down with any great, unassisted, urgency on the Bd side.
3 years from now, HD DVD could still be putting out content, and could still be less expensive to produce than an equivilent Blu-ray.

Hey, if Sony comes at Universal with a close to a blank check, It would make perfect sense that they abandon HD DVD. Barring that though, I don't think it is neccessarily in their best interest right now to jump over out of a sense of panic they will be left far behind. I just don't believe Blu-ray is destined to get as far in the next two or three years as most people here seem to believe.

#20 of 203 OFFLINE   SD_Brian

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Posted January 07 2008 - 11:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
If that were combined with Toshiba successfully selling lower cost Bd/HD DVD combo players- then yes I think the format could linger in the marketplace long enough to build up a library that would be compelling enough to become a feature capability in other CEs products.
Though I agree that combo players would be a nice short-term solution, a better, long-term solution would be a single, unified format.

Speaking as someone who has yet to buy into either HD or BD, I must say that, were I to buy a Hi-Def player today (I'm not going to, but if I were), I would not purchase a format that will not be able to play 70% of the movies. I can't imagine an informed first-time buyer going with HD-DVD when they will only have access to 30% of all released Hi-Def titles. It just wouldn't make sense, regardless of HD-DVD's superior quality or lack thereof.

If the movies aren't going to be available on HD DVD, people are not going to buy into the format. It's just that simple. Beta was far superior in picture quality to VHS but, once there were no longer titles available the format died a fast, inglorious death--and that was after fighting the good fight for several years longer than the current format war has lasted.


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