http://blog.moviefone.com/images/2005/05/bluray.jpgWhat happens when your exclusive deals with two different companies are no longer compatible? This has apparently happened to The Weinstein Co. now that Blockbuster Video has chosen to expand its availability of Blu-Ray discs, making the format the single high-definition video option in most stores. TWC, which formed a shocking exclusive rental agreement with Blockbuster last fall, does not distribute its titles on Blu-Ray; the independent studio favors HD-DVD (as does Universal). Perhaps the Weinsteins will have to rethink their video distribution? At least the movies they've already released on HD-DVD will remain in Blockbuster stores, which won't be getting rid of whatever HD-DVD titles they are already renting, and through Blockbuster.com, which reportedly won't be part of the Blu-Ray 'exclusive'. In fact, Blockbuster claims they would also expand its in-store HD-DVD distribution if enough customers want them -- so this isn't exactly an exclusive deal.

Supposedly the decision was made because Blu-Ray is outselling HD-DVD titles in stores thanks especially to the popularity of the Spider-Man films and the Pirates of the Caribbean series, both of which are only available on Blu-Ray. But this supply to the demand strategy is likely going to also create demand for only Blu-Ray, since customers tend to go with what is available to them rather than what is not. Some people claim that even the online rentals will be affected because members of Blockbuster's Total Access won't be able to return HD-DVDs to stores, and so won't be interested in them as much as in Blu-Ray. But there's a good chance that Blockbuster's new lower-priced services, which aren't 'total access', will become the company's online standards and therefore customers probably won't actually care about which format they choose. Still, with the influence of Blockbuster stores and the Blu-Ray compatible Playstation, we may very well have a front-runner, if not winner, of the hi-def format race. Maybe Blu-Ray will replace DVDs by 2010 after all.
categories Features, Cinematical