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Warner's $400 mil payoff rumor rides again

Ben Drawbaugh

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Some rumors never die, and this one we heard even before the official Warner press release was issued. Now that the format war is officially over, newspapers and magazines everywhere are looking back on the events preceding Toshiba's announcement. While no one really knows why each studio made its decision, The Globe and Mail cites "analysts" who think the payoff was a factor. Well, we asked Warner point blank about the payoff rumor and Kevin Tsujihara, president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group said that it "was not a bidding war" and that it really came down to Q4 sales. This answer leaves us with the impression that while some money probably changed hands, the real reason why Warner went Blu was because during all of 2007 the Blu-ray versions of Warner's titles always outsold the HD DVD. The bottom line is that regardless of any single payoff, since Warner owns most of the home media market, it had the most to lose if it waited too long to chose a format. [Disclosure: Engadget's parent company's parent company is Time Warner, which also owns Warner Bros.]

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