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Live from the Blu-ray press conference

Ben Drawbaugh
January 7, 2008

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So far so good, we finally got in and the stage is setup just like last time, same desk, same podium, same signs, lets see if the news is the same. They should be starting in a few minutes, but we'd bet anything it won't kick off on time.

5:04PM - It's getting quite, here we go!

Andy Parsons from - Blu-ray Disc Association/Pioneer takes the podium and kicks things off.

He introduces the panel which includes; Steve Beeks - Lionsgate, Ron Sanders - Warner Home Video, Bob Chapek - Walt Disney studios, David Bishop - Sony Pictures, and Danny Kaye - Twentieth Century Fox. Andy makes a joke about how Ron is the man who everyone actually wants to talk to, everyone laughs.

5:07PM - The first slide shows that every week and every month Blu-ray Disc outsold HD DVD, but we already knew that,

Andy. Next up is the global market, which is 2:1 as well or 66/34. Hardware sales which includes PS3 give them a 85% share internationally.

Studio market share is strongly in Blu-ray's favor, with 68.4% while HD DVD only has 22.8% exclusivity.

5:09PM - Danny Kaye from Fox takes the podium, and thanks Andy for "setting up the situation."

They are predicting to sell another 2 million stand-alone devices and 3 million PS3s. So by the end of 2008, they expect to have 10 million Blu-ray play back devices.

During 2007 there was about 170M in disc sales. But in 2008, they expect to see 1 billion -- man we wish we could remember what they were trying to hit last year.

Looking back at VHS and DVD sales through, they put up a nice chart which shows an inflection point, which they say happens about he same time, in the third or fourth year. This helps sustain growth in home entertainment.

5:13pm - David Bishop from Sony pictures takes the podium and points out that the PS3 will continue to use bundled titles to help tell everyone that the PS3 is a Blu-ray player. Up until now the focus as been on early adopters, but now they are moving on to everyone, and that is what interactive features are all about.

5:16pm - David reminds us of all the interactive features we saw earlier today and goes on repeating what we already saw.

5:19pm - Bob Chapek, from Walt Disney, takes the podium and brings up all the issues we know too well about confusion about HDTV.

The BDA has been setting in store demos, educational discs. The most successful was the Disney magical Blu-ray tour. Now for a video of the reaction of the magical Blu-ray tour. A story from is being shown on the big screens. Bob says there are plenty of clips like this from all over the country, but we don't remember seeing one before.

The tour kicks off again in Toronto, then goes to Nashville, Denver, Palm Beach Fl, as well as a few other markets. We leaves by wishing us a happy "blu" year and introduces Ron Sanders from Warner.

5:25PM - Ron says 2008 started out pretty exciting for Blu-ray. He gives a summary of the advertising during 2007, including our favorite channel, HDNet. More recently "The Future is Blu" and "I do blu" campaigns were also touted. "The Future is blu" commercial is shown, which we've all seen a few times.

Awareness has climbed to 80% of those surveyed, say they know the brand.

5:28PM - Steve Beeks, president of Lionsgate takes the podium to finish it off. Goes over the goals of the BDA, which is expected to be a watershed year in the adoption of Blu-ray. He is very confident that the market has decided. Steve is really driving home the same stats that he seems to believe really prove the format war is over. He quotes the LA Times, which evidently proclaimed the "format war is over." Blah, blah, blah lots of the same, look at the past, we all need to work together -- ok, Steve, we get it. Again he says "the consumers have made the choice" and that the end of the format war is clear and in the word of Tommy Lasorda, "go blu."

Questions time!

Q. The problem is the price of the machine, who can afford the price of the machines, what are you going to do to reduce the price?
A. Andy reminds us that pricing is up to individual companies, not up to the BDA. He says we don't do coupons, in fact we try to sneak up on everyone else.

Q. Bill from the Digital Bits asks Does Warners decision decision carry over to new line and HBO, and does the switch have anything to do with BD+.
A. No, not really, it was the consumer choice.

Q. Any chance there will be a HD DVD trade in program for Blu-ray.
A. David Bishop, said not at this time.

Q. How will you try to educate consumers that early adopters can't take advantage of new features?
A. Andy says bonus view is new, but prefers not to call it profile 1.1. He goes on to explain that in the DVD world the same thing happened, and people are accustomed to technology developing and the functionality of their players doesn't change. The name "bonus view" is to help them know its a new feature so people can check the disc before they bring it home.

Q. How will you educate smaller markets?
A. We will as soon as we can, but we are starting with the larger market.

Q. Can we start talking about the Blu-ray recorders.
A. Again, Andy says it's up to the manufacturers, and the DVR is very popular.

A. He says to see Universal now and if we all asked they might change their mind.

Q. What if Toshiba, Universal and Paramount don't go blu. How do you convince consumers the war is over?
A. The market will decide.

Q. Was there a Warner pay off?
A. Ron says "I wish". He says any pay off would've been a drop in the bucket so the decision was not related to any payoffs.

Q. How about a DVD/Blu-ray combo disc?
A. Danny says not to sacrifice space or technology so if you really have to, they could bundle a DVD.

Q. With Blu-ray the aparent winner, are we going to see more catalogue titles?
A. Bob says Song of the South won't be covered here today, but one of the pinnacle moments was when we decided to bring out Snow White, which signaled it was mass market, since this was a most cherished title. This time they are releasing Snow White this October. "And what's the price point Bob?" "Wow" -- and as a result we know where this is going. David Bishop says most of the panel lived through DVD and just like that, they look at the core and try to release products that are valuable to them.

Q. Will region coding be made any clearer on the packages, given that it isn't clear, there is the risk that if someone is traveling they could buy the wrong title. Andy says he's waiting for the question. What do the lawyers say abou this? Using this to prevent trading freely internationally?
A. Andy "Ron you what to handle this?" Ron says, "no" "Does anyone want to take it or take it offline, "that's what happened last year, "David says, "ok we'll solve it next year."

Q. Any chance of Direct stream digital?
A. Andy says the spec is already created and they don't want to break it. But we wonder how this is different then adding BD Live now?

Q. Tom Robertson, is it a global exclusivity?
A. Ron says "yes"

That's it no more question, Andy thanks us for coming.

In this article: Blu-ray, CES 2008, Ces2008, features, hdtv
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