On Tuesday, the economy was gonna kill Blu-Ray. As of Friday, Blu-Ray might save Christmas. Right now, the only difference between our economy and a back-alley crapshoot is the informed punditry of the former. But anyway, a bunch of studio executives met on Friday to say, more or less, if Blu-Ray can roll that hardway four we're totally gonna make the car payment and get out of this.
Seriously though, the Digital Entertainment Group, a consortium of studios and other Blu-Ray backers, forecast that by the end of the year, 10.5 million households will be capable of playing Blu-Ray videos -- with 8 million of them on the PlayStation 3. That's well less than the 14.4 million figure an analyst tossed out mid-year, and for it to happen, 2.3 million more PS3s need to be sold, in addition to a million stand-alone players. Still, "We remain pretty confident that we'll meet our targets for the fiscal year," says SCEA spokeswoman Julie Han. The PS3's U.S. installation base is 5.7 million; Sony expects to sell 4 million to 5 million more by March.
Having listened to some of the BMO Capital Markets conference, in which nearly everyone expressed some form of qualified optimism for the coming year, studio executives are not delusional nor howling in the dark on this. It absolutely doesn't help that you're asking people, many of whom are in mortal fear for their jobs, to lay out lots of money on a player and a quality television just to enjoy the experience of a new DVD format. But even as the economic picture worsened in October, Blu-Ray sales quadrupled. Price drops in standalone players and, of course, the value-add you have with a machine like the PS3 that can do more, has enough hopeful for the time being.
"The only dark cloud is the economy," said David Bishop, the president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Yeah, no kidding. Come on, baby needs a new pair of shoes!
Can Blu-Ray Save Christmas for Hollywood? [Associated Press]