Blu-ray disc (BD) has won the battle against HD DVD and yet has to win the war against massively widespread DVD, but there is another battle for the Sony-proposed format: Blu-ray backers have to convince end-users to invest into the high-definition video standard amid economic downturn.
“The economy is the biggest challenge, because there are just so many pieces to the Blu-ray puzzle that consumers face. You need the high-definition television set, you need the player, you need the cables, you need the software.” said Lori MacPherson, general manager of domestic home-entertainment at Disney, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Other executives from various major studios who participated in HD3 panel, which was co-sponsored by THR and Nielsen Business Media, share the opinion that the financial crisis may affect adoption rate of the new format.
“The economy is hitting everybody. But we still look forward to a great fourth quarter,” said Danny Kaye, executive vice president of research and technology strategy at Fox.
Still, according Mr. Kaye, Blu-ray proponents should not panic over the potentially slow road to the broad consumer market since “it never happens overnight”.
There are a number of problems that Blu-ray backers should solve before the technology becomes as popular as DVD. Blu-ray movies still cost considerably more compared to DVDs, particularly in Europe; moreover, not all stores carry broad collections of Blu-ray movies that would appeal to various audiences. Unfortunately, at least some executives do not want to admit that pricing is an issue.
“We are all constantly looking at [disc] pricing. What it amounts to is that we will wait until after the fourth quarter and see how it goes,” said Sony vice president of business development Rich Marty.
Finally, Blu-ray allies have to clearly explain end-users why the format is better than high-definition downloads, which do not offer as high quality as BD, but are considerably less expensive, something particularly important amid slowdown of economy. This will be a particularly hard task as movie studios are interested in selling movies, no matter how, not promoting a physical media standard at any cost.