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Paramount, Dreamworks Sold Out for HD DVD
Tuesday, August 21st, 2007 at 4:00 PM - by Jeff Gamet
Paramount and Dreamworks both announced on Monday that they were throwing their weight behind HD DVD movie discs instead of Blu-ray. The endorsement, however, may be more about money than supporting what they see as better standard, according to the New York Times.
Viacom executives that wanted to remain anonymous claimed that Paramount and Dreamworks Animation will receive about US$150 million in incentives for backing HD DVD. Those incentives will include cash and promotional guarantees.
Paramount president of worldwide marketing and distribution, Rob Moore, said the decision to go exclusively with HD DVD was in consumers best interest. "What is most important to consumers is how much they are paying, and HD DVD is simply less expensive," he said.
Andy Parsons from the Blu-ray Disc Association had a different take. "This seems like a move of desperation," he said. Toshiba and the other companies that are backing the HD DVD standard dont want to suffer the same fate as Betamax did when VHS became the standard for video tape movies.
Many in the industry considered the battle for the next DVD standard to be over, and declared Blu-ray the winner. 20th Century Fox, for example, is in the process of releasing another 29 Blu-ray titles, and Disney is releasing Sleeping Beauty on Blue-ray, too.
Blockbuster offers Blu-ray titles, but doesnt offer HD DVD. Target isnt selling HD DVD players, only standard DVD and Blu-ray.
In the end, the Paramount HD DVD endorsement may be short-lived. Paramounts deal lasts only 18 months, and does not include any films directed by Steven Spielberg.
Although Paramount claims its move is in the best interest of consumers, it may do more to confuse buyers. If consumers feel that the HD movie disc standard is still undecided, they are more likely to stay away from both.
Bob Chapek, president of Disneys home entertainment unit, commented "This is not in the best interest of consumers."
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