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Disney CEO Robert Iger this week in an analyst call confirmed Disney's unwavering and complete exclusive support for Blu-ray:
While he was recently quoted as suggesting that his company might support both Blu-ray and HD DVD, Disney CEO Robert Iger appears to have reversed his earlier position, making a new more unequivocal statement of support for Blu-ray this week.
Back in March, Iger seemed to signal that his Blu-ray exclusive studio was considering joining Warner and Paramount in the format neutral camp, telling investors at Disney's annual meeting with shareholders that his company was "excited about next generation DVD formats" and that while it had chosen Blu-ray because it thought it was superior to HD DVD, that Disney would eventually "probably publish in both formats."
This week, however, Iger made a much more firm statement of his company's exclusive support of Blu-ray during Disney's quarterly analyst call, saying "the single greatest thing we can do right now is to not waffle, but to be very, very blunt about it, to continue our support of Blu-ray because we sense a real advantage."
A complete transcript of Iger's Blu-ray comments made during this week's analyst call follows:
"We made our bed with Blu-ray because we believed more in that format for a variety of reasons; some technical in nature, some due to the fact that it simply had broader support from a variety of industries, notably the motion picture studios but also what I'll call the consumer electronics and the tech industry.
What we are seeing lately is that sales of Blu-ray discs are outpacing HD discs by at least two to one. As more quality Blu-ray product comes on the market, which is going to happen, notably with Pirates on May 22, we actually believe that the difference or the advantage of Blu-ray is only going to widen.
What we are also seeing is that the adoption of the platform right now is being held back a bit by a perception among consumers, really, that there is a format war; and that the hardware or the players are too expensive. We see the players coming down in price nicely, particularly by the Christmas season. We also believe that if Blu-ray continues to outpace HD DVD the retailers are ultimately going to weigh in, because they only have a limited amount of shelf space, and they are going to have to choose a format in order to manage their own shelf space. Once that happens, the advantage is going to go even more in Blu-ray's direction.
I think the single greatest thing we can do right now is to not waffle, but to be very, very blunt about it, to continue our support of Blu-ray because we sense a real advantage. The best thing that could happen is for the format war to end, which will be very pro-consumer, particularly as hardware comes down.
The other thing I want to note is, if you look across the globe, the only place there is really a format war is in the United States. In other markets where next-gen DVD is starting to penetrate, Blu-ray is winning, and substantially; so much so there isn't even a perceived format war.
So I think we made the right decision, the trends we are seeing seem to validate the decision. We think long-term, this is going to be a nice growth area for the company, because as you know sell-through DVD is a big business for the Walt Disney Company, even though we believe in things like VOD and the rental model. People want to own a Disney DVD, particularly in the next-generation format."