Tuesday, August 08, 2006

HD DVD Backers Reveals Preliminary 4Q Release Plans

Major Hollywood studios who are members of the North American HD DVD Promotional Group, Inc. have jointly revealed their preliminary HD DVD release plans for the 4th Quarter of 2006 for the first time since the grouping was formed back in July 11.

The panel of of format supporters from Paramount Home Entertainment, New Line Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video, at the Entertainment Media Expo held Monday in Universal City, Calif were quoted as saying that there are already “tens of thousands” of HD DVD players in homes across America. Their preliminary release plans are as follows:

Warner Home Video

Warner, which has 21 titles already out, will release anywhere from 35 to 50 additional titles, according to Steve Nickerson, SVP of WHV.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Universal, which is only supporting HD DVD, will have a 60-title slate by the fourth quarter, said Ken Graffeo, EVP of USHE.

Paramount Home Entertainment

Paramount has released 10 titles on the HD DVD format currently.

“We’ll probably double that by year’s end,” said Alex Carloss, EVP of worldwide marketing and entertainment for Paramount. That will include a HD DVD edition of Mission: Impossible III with a wealth of bonus features, Carloss said.

New Line Home Entertainment (Titles distributed by Warner Home Video)

New Line, another dual-format supporter, has yet to announce specific releases, and likely won’t until studios see how well the fourth quarter plays out, according to Matt Lasorsa, EVP of marketing.

“It will be as early in 2007 as possible,” Lasorsa said. “We don’t have the depth or breadth of the other studios, so we want to wait until there’s more player penetration.” After that, New Line will start with day-and-date releases, adding “strong catalog titles, such as Blade and Seven, soon after” Lasorsa said.

Success of HD DVD's Soft Launch & Futher HD Interactivity and Connectivity

The panel judges the success of HD DVD's soft launch by consumer reactions more than investment retuns.

The hardware adoption is about as expected, Graffeo said. But the reaction, appreciation and approval studios are hearing from key consumers is better than expected.

Universal will continue to take several different approaches to its HD DVD “in-movie experiences” and will watch closely to see how consumers respond to each, according to Ken Graffeo, EVP of USHE.

Source: HD DVD Backers Counting on Q4 (Home Media Retailing)


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