A Blockbuster for Blu-ray

June 19, 2007

Blu-rayBy now most of you have heard about Blockbuster’s decision to roll-out Blu-ray media in an additional 1450 stores across the nation. Without dissecting each individual quote, retort and tidbit of information gleaned from the multiple articles on the subject, I do of course have an opinion on the matter. First; make no mistake this is a big coup for Blu-ray, big not huge however. If this would have come before (months before) the recent price reductions to HD DVD players it may have even been a death blow to the format, (and may still be) but Blockbuster’s own chief operating officer tempers the news with caution.

Nick Shepherd COO of Blockbuster stated: “Initially this decision is based purely on the number of rentals we’ve seen in our 250 test stores”, “It’s really very early in time to start making any decisions about who’s going to win”, “What we’re really looking at is a nano-second in time; lets see what happens over the next twelve to eighteen months” and “we’ve clearly not precluded rolling HD into our stores at a later date”.

So with those statements alone; Mr. Shepherd would appear more cautious than some of the reporting surrounding the decision itself. In an interview with CNBC Warren Lieberfarb former president of Warner Home Video, described it as a non-event and went on to state “this decision reflects Playstation owners who are renters not buyers” and indicated that purchases not rentals are what the studios are interested in. He even went on to state that home media rentals dropped by one billion dollars after the introduction of DVD, something Blockbuster would of course be keenly aware of. So what does Blockbuster’s decision really mean?

In a nutshell this is a leg up to the format already out-pacing the format that could have used a leg up, or in other words Toshiba will have to work even harder to negate the negative publicity this news will undoubtedly generate. I’ve read articles that attributed several studio heads as saying this holiday season will be much more important to the outcome of the format war than any other period thus far. One things for sure Toshiba would surely rather go into November/December in those 1200 additional Blockbuster’s with HD DVD than not, this very well could be a defining moment in the format war, time will tell.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Blu-ray


Comments

  • J

    “it’s just that it represents sort of that last final mini-event “straw” so to speak that was needed to CLEARLY tip the momentum in Blu-ray’s favor.”

    Yep. Blockbuster’s decision is getting more mainstream press than any other volley in the format war. BD just became the assumed winner for anyone who’s not otherwise following the story.

  • J

    “it’s just that it represents sort of that last final mini-event “straw” so to speak that was needed to CLEARLY tip the momentum in Blu-ray’s favor.”

    Yep. Blockbuster’s decision is getting more mainstream press than any other volley in the format war. BD just became the assumed winner for anyone who’s not otherwise following the story.

  • Adam Griffith

    Yes…I agree…

    I think, the biggest problem that I see with the whole Blockbuster announcement is not the single event that it creates – I mean, people can still rent, find, and buy HD DVD movies easily regardless – it’s just that it represents sort of that last final mini-event “straw” so to speak that was needed to CLEARLY tip the momentum in Blu-ray’s favor.

    I mean, prior to the announcement BD already had most of the studios, the CEs, the PS3, and all the rest – BUT even with all that, it did feel like WE COULD STILL ARGUE that HD DVD was remotely equal to BD, given HD DVD’s own currently exclusive advantages.

    Now, however, there are few arguments left to be made. The Blockbuster announcement, IMO, made it so HD DVD went from having a chance to “win” the war to only have a chance to “survive” the war.

    And therein lies the problem. NONE OF US want the future of HD media to be something that “just survives”. We want a mainstream product so we’ll be guaranteed ALL the content we want for years.

    With the momentum clearly shifted to one side now it’s seems like we should support that latter ideal then trying to drum up campaigns that allow the in-fighting and confusion to remain.

    And I say this with as much love as I’ve ever had for HD DVD and hate as I’ve had for Sony. I just want better for a future HD format than mediocre niche status. And I think as long as the war continues and both formats appear to have equal advantages/support – then that is all we will ever get.

  • Adam Griffith

    Yes…I agree…

    I think, the biggest problem that I see with the whole Blockbuster announcement is not the single event that it creates – I mean, people can still rent, find, and buy HD DVD movies easily regardless – it’s just that it represents sort of that last final mini-event “straw” so to speak that was needed to CLEARLY tip the momentum in Blu-ray’s favor.

    I mean, prior to the announcement BD already had most of the studios, the CEs, the PS3, and all the rest – BUT even with all that, it did feel like WE COULD STILL ARGUE that HD DVD was remotely equal to BD, given HD DVD’s own currently exclusive advantages.

    Now, however, there are few arguments left to be made. The Blockbuster announcement, IMO, made it so HD DVD went from having a chance to “win” the war to only have a chance to “survive” the war.

    And therein lies the problem. NONE OF US want the future of HD media to be something that “just survives”. We want a mainstream product so we’ll be guaranteed ALL the content we want for years.

    With the momentum clearly shifted to one side now it’s seems like we should support that latter ideal then trying to drum up campaigns that allow the in-fighting and confusion to remain.

    And I say this with as much love as I’ve ever had for HD DVD and hate as I’ve had for Sony. I just want better for a future HD format than mediocre niche status. And I think as long as the war continues and both formats appear to have equal advantages/support – then that is all we will ever get.