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Warner Goes Blu-Ray Exclusive

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This news was confirmed by my Warner contact 30min ago. Now here’s the thing, this DOES show that most of the industry wants Blu-Ray. However, like I’ve said before, Universal and Paramount/Dreamworks have NO INTENTIONS of going Blu-Ray. There is enough money in DVD to let this disk format stalemate continue. This won’t make a difference until Blu-Ray or HD-DVD reach critical mass. At that point, whoever is in the lead(most likely Blu-Ray) will win the format war. But there’s another factor involved here; digital downloads picking up steam. If the stalemate lasts too long, digital downloads could end up winning the war.

Warner is doing the smart thing because having a split market sucks.? As in all wars, there are casualties.? The casualties from this war happen to be consumers on both sides.? If for some strange reason Universal and Paramount/Dreamworks jump ship to Blu-Ray this year, the battlefields will be clear and we’ll spend a lot of time and effort picking up the wounded HD-DVD owners and slowly bringing them over to Blu-Ray.? While I’m a proponent of digital downloads versus a split disk market, I can honestly say that if Blu-Ray wins I wouldn’t have a problem buying all of my NEW movies on that format.? I vehemently refuse to upgrade my entire DVD collection.? So that’s my .02.? Here’s the official release from Warner:

WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT TO RELEASE ITS HIGH-DEFINITION DVD TITLES EXCLUSIVELY IN THE BLU-RAY DISC FORMAT

BEGINNING LATER THIS YEAR

Decision Made in Response to Strong Consumer Preference for Format

(January 4, 2008 ? Burbank, CA) ? In response to consumer demand, Warner Bros. Entertainment will release its high-definition DVD titles exclusively in the Blu-ray disc format beginning later this year, it was announced today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. and Kevin Tsujihara, President, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

?Warner Bros.? move to exclusively release in the Blu-ray disc format is a strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want,? said Meyer. ?The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers.?

Warner Home Video will continue to release its titles in standard DVD format and Blu-ray. After a short window following their standard DVD and Blu-ray releases, all new titles will continue to be released in HD DVD until the end of May 2008.

?Warner Bros. has produced in both high-definition formats in an effort to provide consumer choice, foster mainstream adoption and drive down hardware prices,? said Jeff Bewkes, President and Chief Executive Officer, Time Warner Inc., the parent company of Warner Bros. Entertainment. ?Today?s decision by Warner Bros. to distribute in a single format comes at the right time and is the best decision both for consumers and Time Warner.?

?A two-format landscape has led to consumer confusion and indifference toward high definition, which has kept the technology from reaching mass adoption and becoming the important revenue stream that it can be for the industry,? said Tsujihara. ?Consumers have clearly chosen Blu-ray, and we believe that recognizing this preference is the right step in making this great home entertainment experience accessible to the widest possible audience. Warner Bros. has worked very closely with the Toshiba Corporation in promoting high definition media and we have enormous respect for their efforts. We look forward to working with them on other projects in the future.?

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