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Disney and Panasonic Join Forces for Blu-ray Campaign

10 Sep, 2009 By: Stephanie Prange

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and hardware manufacturer Panasonic are aiming to educate families about Blu-ray this fourth quarter.

Coinciding with the Blu-ray release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Oct. 6, the two companies are joining forces to air a national TV commercial touting the virtues of the new format.

“We want to take the technology to the family and demystify it,” said Disney VP of worldwide communications Eric Maehara.

The spot notes that Blu-ray’s picture is six times better than DVD and that the discs are interactive and more scratch-resistant, among other features.

In a further attempt to transition consumers to the format, the studio will launch DisneyUpgrade2Blu.com to coincide with Snow White’s release. Among the site offerings is a Blu-ray conversion program whereby consumers who already own the DVD of a title can get a $10-off coupon for the Blu-ray version. The offer will start with the launch of Snow White and expand to all Blu-ray catalog titles a few weeks later.

Panasonic also expects to offer some incentives, said Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, chief technology officer with Panasonic.

Also, to make the digital file offering in combo packs more consumer-friendly, Disney has designed a trailer to appear on disc releases that explains how to use the digital copy. DisneyFile.com, launched this year, aids in the effort.

“A lot of consumers are buying the combo packs [with Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy], but they are not fully understanding how to use them,” Maehara said.

Disney is further developing Blu-ray’s interactive capabilities on Snow White and its upcoming “Lost” season five release. On Snow White, viewers can answer questions to determine which Disney princess they are most like. On the “Lost” release, viewers can enter Lost University, which offers courses (including suggested outside reading) on various subjects from the show. Even before the release debuts Dec. 8, Maehara said thousands of fans had already registered at lostuniversity.com.

“I’ve always said BD Live is great for social media,” Tsuyuzaki said. “This is a great example of that.”

During the D23 conference in Anaheim, Calif., a Disney-sponsored consumer confab, the home entertainment arm displayed Blu-ray, digital delivery (via PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Apple TV and Vudu) and Panasonic’s home 3D technology.

Tsuyuzaki said he’s “confident” that the Blu-ray Disc Association will hammer out a 3-D standard by the end of the year with hardware (and likely software) coming in 2010.

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