Paramount Joins HD DVD Camp
August 20, 2007 12:27 PM
Looks like HD DVD has decided to fight. The Toshiba format has swung Paramount into its studio camp. Movies released by Paramount and several subsidiaries—including DreamWorks and MTV Films—will be released exclusively in HD DVD format.
The exclusivity deal starts with the upcoming releases of “Blades of Glory," followed by "Transformers" and "Shrek the Third." Paramount joins Universal as the only studio releasing titles exclusively on HD DVD
According to the press release, the deal came about because “the companies each said that the decision to distribute exclusively in the HD DVD format resulted from an extensive evaluation of current market offerings, which confirmed the clear benefits of HD DVD, particularly its market-ready technology and lower manufacturing costs.” According to Nikki Finke, the real reason was Toshiba gave Paramount $50 million and DreamWorks Animation $100 million (a Toshiba rep did not returned a request for comment).
Regardless of the reason for the collaboration (tough to imagine Blu-ray’s army of backers aligned under the Sony banner without some financial incentives of their own along the way), this is a significant victory for HD DVD and exactly what they need to try and reverse the stench of doom hanging over their format.
Unfortunately for consumers wanting a decisive victory in time for their holiday shopping, this is a format war Groundhog Day. HD DVD’s deal ensures at least six more months of active fighting between Sony and Toshiba.
Expect Sony, which has not been shy about generating headline victories of their, to retaliate soon. Bet there’s some Wal-Mart executives tied to chairs in a warehouse filled with Blu-ray players somewhere, with Sony henchmen strongly urging they consider ditching those pesky Toshiba titles from their shelves.
UPDATE at 4:25 pm: Responding to Finke's reporting of the $150 million payout, Paramount issued this statement: "The reason we made this decision is simple. After a year of fully experiencing and exploring both formats, we decided to exclusively support HD DVD because of the quality, value and potential the format offers. Beyond that, whenever we conduct co-marketing, production deals or other agreements, we never discuss business terms."
So, that sounds like a big yes, huh?