Bourne, Harry Potter HD DVDs outpacing Blu-ray titles
DEC. 21 | Fourth-quarter HD DVD releases The Bourne Ultimatum and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix are outpacing similarly high-profile Blu-ray titles, according to Universal Studios Home Entertainment and other industry research sources.
In its first week on sale, starting Dec. 11, the Bourne single-disc HD DVD configuration sold 60,000 units, doubling the 30,000 units Spider-Man 3 sold during its street week in its similar individual Blu-ray SKU. Counting other configurations, including its BD trilogy, Spider-Man 3 reached higher six-day numbers, according to distributor Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Universal could only provide data on the Bourne single SKU. But the studio expects the pattern to continue when sales information can be gathered in the next several days for its own HD DVD Bourne trilogy set.Additionally, notes Universal research, Warner Home Video’s HD DVD release of Order of the Phoenix is edging out the titles’ BD version by a 55-to-45 ratio. Order of the Phoenix also streeted Dec. 11. That claim matches information gathered from Amazon.com sales rankings in recent weeks.
These HD DVD success stories do mark a reversal from the overall trend of BD titles topping its rival. Generally, BD sales trump HD DVD sales by a 2-to-1 ratio.
Ken Graffeo, Universal executive VP of marketing and co-president of the North American HD DVD Promotional Group, acknowledges the continued, on average, BD strength over HD DVD software. But he believes it is significant that HD DVD is catching BD in terms of fourth-quarter new releases, as he believes it is a more apple to apples comparison of consumer purchasing behavior.
These new box-office hits are not normally included in the primarily catalog ‘buy one, get one free’ deals. Popular with BD studios, these BOGO deals are enticing because consumers get two titles for 50% off the original price. But there is a question of how long studios can continue to support these promotions as they bring in considerably less money than regualarly-priced titles would.
“I think the fourth quarter is going to be interesting,” said Graffeo. “If you break out the hits, I think we will be even. But the aggressive discounting, with catalog [of buy one, get one free offers], can inflate the numbers.”
Graffeo believes that HD DVD is on an upswing with recent releases because of the surge in people buying HD DVD hardware, which also has been steadily discounted. Toshiba sold 90,000 players in a two-day period in November, thanks to Wal-Mart and Best Buy pricing HD DVD players below $100 for the first time.
“This is a real testament to the momentum we are gaining with the set-top players,” said Graffeo. “We are beginning to realize the attach rate with movie sales.”