updated 03:15 pm EDT, Thu August 23, 2007
Paramount biased by money
Paramount's recent decision to pick HD DVD as its exclusive HD format was influenced by money, not quality, reports say. The New York Times writes that Paramount was paid $150 million by the format's backers, divided into cash and promotional guarantees. This is despite Paramount's insistence that HD DVD is simply "the affordable high quality choice for consumers." Still unclear is how long the exclusivity will last, as while Paramount told PC World the deal was "indefinite," the Times claims it may be limited to 18 months. Paramount has released Blu-Ray titles in the past.
Exclusivity is not a new phenomenon in the HD media conflict, but past instances such as Sony's agreement with Target have been open business transactions, rather than strategic decisions supposedly based only on merit. In practice HD DVD faces an uphill struggle for the market, because research suggests that Blu-Ray movies are selling twice as many copies as HD DVD, although both formats are dwarfed by the prevalence of "standard" DVD.