I read about this last night, but I was pre-occupied with some server issues at work so I’m just getting to post this.
Blockbuster has decided to expand Blu-ray rentals to 1,700 corporate-owned Blockbuster stores by mid-July. They’ve been test marketing HD DVD and Blu-ray in 250 stores, and they’ve seen a 70% preference for Blu-ray. They will continue to rent HD DVD from the 250 stores that have it now, as well as online via Blockbuster.com. They may expand HD DVD in the future if demand increases, but with BD outselling HD DVD at an increasing pace, this seems like just another nail in HD DVD’s coffin.
The only major studio not releasing HD content on BD is Universal. All of the other majors are releasing content on BD – most exclusively. (Warner and Paramount are the only two majors supporting both formats. Sony, MGM, Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, etc, are BD exclusive.) The format war isn’t good for anyone, so I’m in favor of anything that might help kill HD DVD so we can finally be done with it and move forward with one standard.
A recent Home Media Magazine, for June 10-16, 2007, lists the Nielsen VideoScan data for BD and HD DVD. For the week ended 6/03 it was 61% BD, 39% HD DVD, Year-to-Date 67% BD and 33% HD DVD, and Since Inception 59% BD and 41% HD DVD. I think the last is the most telling. HD DVD had a several month lead to market on BD, and had many more titles available. But BD has picked up steam and is growing at an accelerating rate, with sales sustaining at a level higher than HD DVD. That market share should continue to shift more and more toward BD.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it – HD DVD is a dead format walking. BD has more support from studios, the consumer electronics industry, the computer industry, and the gaming industry. It is a technologically superior format with plenty of room to grow, unlike HD DVD. It has more capacity. A better interactive development platform. It is all-around a better choice for consumers. Don’t buy HD DVD, the sooner it withers the better for everyone. Buy BD or wait it out, buying HD DVD just prolongs the war.
Here’s Blockbuster’s press release, via PR Newswire…
Jun 18, 2007 01:15 ET
Blockbuster to Expand Blu-Ray to 1,700 Stores
Company will continue to offer HD DVD titles online and in select number of stores
DALLAS, June 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — In response to the growing demand for high-definition DVDs, Blockbuster Inc. (NYSE:BBI) (NYSE:BBI.B) today announced that it is rolling out an expanded Blu-ray disc inventory for rental to 1,700 corporate-owned BLOCKBUSTER(R) stores by mid-July. The Company will continue to offer both Blu-ray and HD DVD titles through its online rental service, www.blockbuster.com, and will continue to offer both formats at its initial 250 stores that currently carry both high-definition formats.
“We intend to meet the demands of our customers and based on the trends we’re seeing, we’re expanding our Blu-ray inventory to ensure our stores reflect the right level of products,” said Matthew Smith, SVP Merchandising for Blockbuster. “While it is still too early to say which high-definition format will become the industry standard, we will continue to closely monitor customer rental patterns both at our stores and online, so we can adjust our inventory mix accordingly and ensure that Blockbuster is offering customers the most convenient access to the movies they want, in the format they want.”
When Blu-ray and HD DVD were introduced to the marketplace in 2006, Blockbuster began offering the high-definition formats on all titles in which it was available through blockbuster.com. The Company also introduced both formats on select titles in 250 stores in November of 2006. With Blu-ray rentals significantly outpacing HD DVD rentals at its BLOCKBUSTER stores, the Company made the decision to expand the number of stores offering the Blu-ray format.
With the expansion in July, the 1,700 stores will be carrying more than 170 titles in Blu-ray and will continue to add titles in the format as they are released from the studios.
“We are excited to be able to make more high-definition titles available to our customers in those stores where our research indicates there will be the most demand,” said Smith. “Obviously, when customers are ready we can expand the Blu-ray offering into more stores and add HD DVD to more locations if that’s what customers tell us they want. We’ll continue to work with the movie studios to ensure we have the right assortment of products.”
Blu-ray formatted titles are available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment, FOX Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, and Paramount Home Entertainment and can be played on Blu-ray dedicated players, Sony PLAYSTATION(R)3 (PS3(TM)) or a Blu-ray compatible computer drive.
Blockbuster Inc. is a leading global provider of in-home movie and game entertainment, with more than 8,000 stores throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. The Company may be accessed worldwide at http://www.blockbuster.com/.
Source: Blockbuster Inc.
CONTACT: press, Karen Raskopf, Senior Vice President, or Randy Hargrove,
Senior Director, both Corporate Communications, +1-214-854-3190; or investor
relations, Angelika Torres, Director, Investor Relations, +1-214-854-4279, all
of Blockbuster Inc.
Web site: http://www.blockbuster.com/