SHOCKER: Paramount to drop Blu-Ray Support!!!

In a surprise announcement yesterday, Paramount (including Dreamworks and other subsidiaries) announced that they will be supporting HD-DVD exclusively effective immediately. At a time when Blu-Ray has been consistently outselling HD-DVD 2:1 throughout 2007 and many people thought that the war was drawing to a close with Blu-Ray pulling away, this announcement has puzzled both fans and industry folks alike. Many fans are upset because this assures that the format war will be prolonged and newer consumers will be even more confused about the HD formats.

Here's the news report from HighDefDigest.com:

According to a just-issued AP report, Paramount Pictures has announced it will exclusively support HD DVD, dropping its support of the Blu-ray format.
It's a move few predicted, and it's a particular surprise given the Blu-ray format's 2-to-1 lead over HD DVD in disc sales over the first half of 2007.

According to the AP article, beginning with 'Shrek the Third,' Paramount and all of its subsidiaries (including DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films) will release its next-gen releases on HD DVD only.
"Part of our vision is to aggressively extend our movies beyond the theater, and deliver the quality and features that appeal to our audience," said Brad Grey, chairman and chief executive of Paramount Pictures. "I believe HD DVD is not only the affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart choice for Paramount."


Here's is the response from the Blu-Ray camp:

In its statement, the BDA expresses what can only be described as bewilderment at why Paramount and sister studio DreamWorks would choose to exclusively support HD DVD at a time when the sales gulf between the two formats seems to be so clearly in Blu-ray's favor.

"The decision seems oddly timed given Blu-ray's tremendous momentum both with consumers and with retail," said Andy Parsons, Chairman, Blu-ray Disc Association US Promotions Committee. "Blu-ray title sales continue to outpaceHD-DVD sales by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, and major retailers have expressed a strong preference for Blu-ray.

"Moreover, the price delta between HD DVD and Blu-ray players has been greatly reduced in the past few months, a trend that is on its way to eliminating any perceived cost advantage the HD DVD format has claimed to have. Under these circumstances, we can only imagine what could have enticed Paramount to walk away from a format that is clearly selling significantly more software than the HD-DVD format."



There are however a few interesting catches. Later today it was revealed that the HD-DVD group apparently paid Paramount $150 million dollars to secure exclusivity and that the deal will only last 18 months at most. In addition, Steven Spielberg's films are excluded from the deal since he does not approve of the deal and is a supporter of the Blu-Ray format (Spielberg is technically under the Dreamworks umbrella which he co-founded). In fact, the 1st and only Spielberg movie to release on an HD format in 2007 will be Close Encounters of the Third Kind which is being distributed by Sony exclusively for Blu-Ray. Confused Yet??

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  3. This is a surprising announcement but I believe it was a shrewd business decision; one that will ensure the existence of both formats for a very long time. Why? Well, because of the Cold War theory of peaceful coexistence. Most of us have more than one DVD player in the house. So, why not a PS3 in the family room, an HD-DVD player in the living room, and a dual format player in the bedroom?

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  4. Another interesting tidbit regarding this is that Michael Bay (director of Transformers) is apparently pissed at Paramount's decision since Transformers will now only be on HD-DVD. He left a statement on his blog saying that he won't be doing Transformers 2 anymore. Not sure how legit it is but I thought it was kind of funny.

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  5. It may be legit and it may be funny but it all boils down to a whole lotta money!

    Huh, huh, huh, huh

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  6. I love you Tion.

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