HD-DVD/Blu-ray Format War Update (Week of 3/18)
The consolidated sales estimates have been posted, and it looks like Blu-ray continues to hold a 4-to-1 sales lead over HD-DVD. Very surprising though that the gap did not widen because the latest week on the chart (week of 3/18) had the release of Casino Royale on Blu-ray and no releases on HD-DVD. The Blu-ray disc sales did take a big jump, but so did the sales for HD-DVD, according to this estimate. Not exactly logical to see HD-DVD sales nearly tripling during a week with no new releases, but some data gaps are to be expected since these estimates are pulled together from multiple sources.
This week, Sony put out a release saying that Casino Royale was the first Blu-ray title to ship 100,000 copies to retail. Considering that the estimated sales for the week totaled about ~76,500 Blu-ray discs, obviously not all of those copies sold during the first week (or those figures include overseas shipments as well).
Next week's numbers will include another week with no HD-DVD releases, so the sales gap likely won't narrow.
The week after though promises to be much more interesting. That data will include the actual sales tracking from this week, which features several new HD-DVD releases, a major concurrent release in both formats (Happy Feet), and one concurrent exclusive for each format (Children of Men on HD-DVD, and Pursuit of Happyness on Blu-ray). Preliminarily, the sales gap on Amazon has been narrowing this week, so the only question is how much will HD-DVD close the gap on a week where both formats have a full slate of new releases on tap?
Maybe this is why HD-DVD is still increasing its numbers...
I'm not going to rehash anything from the other posts as BluRay is apparently doing well and neither MS or Toshiba has done enough on the hardware front of late, but for movie releases, HD-DVD is still generating interest. For example, for people who own HD-DVD or BluRay setups, they will be a lot more excited over Children of Men than Pursuit of happiness - not because the latter is any worse of a film, but it's just not an action flick. As far as the kiddie titles like Happy Feet, I also don't think 6-year olds rally care whether it's in HD or not.
Originally Posted by Woochifer
So sticking strictly to the software side of this debate then, HD-DVD seems to be coming around with titles like A Scanner Darkly, Matrix Trilogy, Flags of Our Fathers, and Mission Impossible 1&2. Maybe it's just my impression but with their alliance with the porn industry and from what I have seen of their marketing campaign, it looks like HD-DVD is leaning more towards an adult, edgier, mature audience. If they are indeed loosing some ground, that's probably the right way to market themselves: as outsiders looking in. Maybe they are playing an underdog game and trying to associate the BluRay camp with the cutsy feely-touchy kiddy iMac-Disney panglossian crowd? Penguins aside, maybe this is their marketing strategy?
By the way, not that I have any desire to see any kind of porn on HD-DVD, but just how much of the HD-DVD sales are porn? Is Sony's refusal to play in that sandbox affecting their numbers at all?
Well, the uptick in HD-DVD sales for the week of 3/18 actually belies logic because that week featured no new HD-DVD releases, and the way that these markets work, the new releases usually drive sales. Like I said, these are consolidated estimates that are calculated backwards from different data sources, and those sources might not necessarily match up. The Videoscan numbers in the two far right columns are probably the most reliable numbers because they reflect actual data and not assumptions. Unfortunately, they are also the least illustrative numbers because they only include YTD and SI market share, and title rankings.
Originally Posted by nightflier
Happy Feet will be a good benchmark because it's a simultaneous release on DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray. Not necessarily an apples to apples comparison because the HD-DVD is a combo DVD/HD-DVD disc that costs $5 more, but includes the lossless Dolby TrueHD audio track that Warner excluded from the Blu-ray version. (Warner's has been in bed with Dolby for years, so it's taken them a while to start including the uncompressed PCM tracks that all the other studios use on their Blu-rays) Even so, it's another indicator to use. The previous release that came out simultaneously on all three formats was The Departed last month, and that time the Blu-ray version outsold the HD-DVD by 20,000 to 13,000 during the first week.
I think the title selection simply reflects what the different studios have available. Actually, Scanner Darkly, Flags of Our Fathers, and the Mission Impossible movies will come out simultaneously on Blu-ray and HD-DVD. The Matrix trilogy and some of Warner's other titles such as Batman Begins are waiting for more widespread implementation of BD-Java before those titles come out on Blu-ray.
Originally Posted by nightflier
Universal has had a bad run as of late at the box office, so you won't see a lot of mainstream hits from them. But, they're doing a great job at marketing Children of Men on HD-DVD, which did not fare well during its theatrical run but seemed to have a good amount of buzz heading into its home video debut. I think Sony, Fox, and Disney have focused more on their mainstream titles simply because they've had a lot more recent box office hits. Universal's top grossing title from last year was The Break-Up and they've already released it on HD-DVD.
As far as porn goes, I think that will become a non-issue when more of the duplicating houses start handling Blu-ray jobs. Sony has had a long-standing policy of not handling adult material at its duplicating facilities (which would include DVDs), so this is nothing new. But, just because Sony doesn't handle adult titles does not preclude any of the other Blu-ray duplicators from taking on adult titles. Vivid Entertainment (the largest porn producer) has already announced Blu-ray releases, so they've obviously found a duplicating house that will take their money.
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