LOS ANGELES, Aug. 20 — Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) and DreamWorks Animation SKG (NYSE: DWA), each announced today that they will exclusively support the next-generation HD DVD format on a worldwide basis. The exclusive HD DVD commitment will include all movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films, as well as movies from DreamWorks Animation, which are distributed exclusively by Paramount Home Entertainment.
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. Paramount Home Entertainment will launch its exclusive HD DVD program with the release of the blockbuster comedy hit “Blades of Glory” on August 28th and follow with two of the biggest grossing movies of the year “Transformers” and “Shrek the Third”. These three titles alone represent more than $1.5 billion in box office ticket sales worldwide.
“The combination of Paramount and DreamWorks Animation brings a critical mass of current box office hits to consumers with a line-up of live action and animated films that are perfect for HD DVD,” stated Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, which is currently the leading studio in domestic box office. “Part of our vision is to aggressively extend our movies beyond the theater, and deliver the quality and features that appeal to our audience. I believe HD DVD is not only the affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart choice for Paramount.”
“We decided to release “Shrek the Third” and other DreamWorks Animation titles exclusively on HD DVD because we believe it is the best format to bring high quality home entertainment to a key segment of our audience — families,” stated DreamWorks Animation CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg. “We believe the combination of this year’s low-priced HD DVD players and the commitment to release a significant number of hit titles in the fall makes HD DVD the best way to view movies at home.”
With the rapid increase of HD TV screens in households, and audiences wanting to enjoy the total entertainment experience, HD DVD has emerged as the most affordable way for consumers to watch their movies in high definition. In addition to pristine quality, HD DVD also offers consumers the chance to personalize the movie-watching experience, to interact with their movies and even to connect with a community of other fans.
Paramount Home Entertainment will issue new releases day and date as well as catalog titles exclusively on HD DVD. Today’s announcement does not include films directed by Steven Spielberg as his films are not exclusive to either format.
To Paramount and DreamWorks SKG – Regarding the decision by Paramount Pictures and co. to release movies exclusively on HD DVD: You have made a terrible mistake. The only possible reason to do this would be money. The $150 Million that you all profited from this will eventually come to nothing.
Target is only selling Blu-Ray players, Blockbuster will only rent Blu-Ray movies and current market sales indicate that Blu-Ray outsells HD DVD 2:1. Myself and many hundreds of thousands of others will never invest in HD-DVD, and many have stopped buying normal DVDs altogether. Therefore, their $1.5 billion in ticket sales will be released on a format that 2 out of every 3 Hi-Def consumers will never purchase.
Thank you Paramount and DreamsWorks for taking away many movies that I would have otherwise enjoyed watching on Blu-Ray, such as “Transformers”, “Iron-Man”, and many more. I will not be buying or renting these on DVD. All they have done is to prolong a dispute that should have ended by now between the competing formats. Had they gone Blu-Ray exclusive, they would have made much more money not only in the short term, but also in the long run.
There are rumors of a $150 million payout by the HD-DVD consortium to nab the Viacom exclusivity, which sure would help explain the move more than the officially given reasons despite all market data showing Blu-Ray gaining market share over the HD video market.
Everyone needs to band together and send as much mail to them as possible regarding their poor decision. They do not supply an email address, they only accept snail mail. I’ve written to Paramount in the past and this is the address I have:
Paramount Home Entertainment
5555 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA
I received a response from them when I wrote about another matter. If anyone has a different address then add it to the comment box.