One BEEELION Dollars

Dr. Evil had it right. One billion dollars is a lot of money. Apparently, it's also the lucky number that Hollywood execs are looking for to call Blu-ray a success. They believe they'll hit that number, and are aiming for $2.5 billion at the end of 2009. Optimistic, or naive?

In a report from Home Media magazine, seven studios attending the Home Entertainment Summit all declared that Blu-ray success is coming sooner rather than later.

The studios home entertainment presidents represented most of the big players: Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner.

Here's what some of them had to say.

"It shows consumers are really embracing the format," Lionsgate president Steve Beeks said of the 7% to 10% market share that Blu-ray's been taking away from DVD every week.

"The transition to Blu-ray will be much quicker than DVD because people are already familiar with digital," said Mike Dunn, president of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

I think he's being a bit optimistic here. Many folks think DVD is good enough. It's hard to compare Blu-ray adoption to DVD's overtaking of VHS, because the difference between VHS and DVD was huge and obvious to even a casual observer.

"Upconverters, we think, are a huge problem," said Ron Sanders, president of Warner Home Video, adding he expects significant price drops in standalone Blu-ray players in 2009. "Those houses [that buy one] are out of the market for several years."

But there's a silver lining among all those DVD homes, Bishop noted.

"Every consumer will be in the marketplace at some point to replace their DVD player," he said, referring to a reason why lower-priced Blu-ray players will sell.

BD Live is also hoped to fuel the growth, creating something new with each viewing.
"Three years from now, when they put in Men in Black, it'll be a different experience than what they have today. We've never had that direct connection, that direct dialogue, with the consumer," Sony's Bishop said.

All the studio heads agree that adding value to Blu-ray and also looking at other media options, such as downloading, needs to be considered for future growth.

I don't know about you, but if my product made me one billion dollars, I would be quite happy.
-Leslie Shapiro

Via Home Media magazine