Originally Posted by amirm
I don't remember the details of our studies we ran but format war did not rank as the highest reason for lack of intention to buy. It boiled down to stuff being so much more expensive than DVD and super high satisfaction with what DVD has to offer. So while the format war ending will surely help, it is no solution to the general issue that we are trying to sell consumers the same shiny disc and players that look the same, except that they both cost a lot more....
The studies about the views of customers seem to have ignored the fact that new products go through an adoption process. In this process, it is not particularly important what the whole set of consumers thinks; the important point is what the next group of potential adopters think. They are the folks who are going to buy next and popularize the product.
Toshiba must have read these imperfect studies, for they took seriously the idea that the price was too high for mass adoption. So, by reducing the price to a point believed "popular", they could trigger mass adoption of HD DVD. They were wrong. While low prices may be necessary for mass adoption, they are not sufficient.
In my opinion, the format war has blocked the adoption process by keeping the likely and eager next set of adopters from moving forward. It didn't matter how cheap HD DVD was, people were uncertain about its prospects and decided to wait.
Therefore, now that the format war is resolved, we will see a lot of activity from the folks who are next in the adoption pipeline. I believe we are already seeing this in the last few weeks.
I am sure that consumers have a lot of reasons today for saying that they don't want Blu-ray. They will change their minds as things unfold.
This has happened before, here are some historical examples.
-- In 1976, Magnetic Video tried to get studios to lease their films for release on Beta and VHS. The studios cited evidence that customers were simply not interested in owning copies of movies. Studio after studio turned them down. Finally, Magnetic Video made a deal with Fox, which supplied 16mm copies of a library of their classics. Sales grew rapidly, more rapidly than any studio had predicted. By the mid-80's, every studio head was willing to tell you how he invented home video.
-- 1997-98 when DVD was released, many experts believed that VHS was secure in the heavens and that DVD would be a niche perhaps replacing LD but would not touch VHS. They were wrong.
I can name many other examples of people missing the trend because they forget about the adoption process.
I do not believe that people are buying HDTV's and demanding HD from their cable and satellite companies, but at the same time will somehow decide that they are satisfied with standard-definition DVD and don't really need Blu-ray.
Now that the format war is over, things will move rapidly. A year from now, everyone will be believers.