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In Support of Branding Blu-ray Disc

3 Feb, 2008 By: Stephanie Prange

Back in August of 2006, I wrote a column about the name recognition advantage HD DVD had.

Pioneer had just opened a branded store in South Coast Plaza, a mall here in Orange County, Calif. The Blu-ray Disc logo was prominently displayed around the store, but in a nod to the ubiquitous brand of DVD, the sign above the Blu-ray software display had the Blu-ray logo right next to the DVD logo.

Not so anymore. The Pioneer store now has changed that sign to Blu-ray Disc only.

Similarly, the Sony Style store in the same mall has put the Blu-ray Disc front and center in the display windows. The first thing shoppers see when they enter the store is the PlayStation 3 and a Blu-ray disc displayed together. DVD is downplayed in a wash of Blu.

During the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Blu-ray supporters noted how they have been largely successful in branding the Blu-ray name. They said that, while Blu-ray awareness among consumers at the end of 2006 was 26%, it's now 80%. Evidently Blu-ray supporters were aware of the name problem and did the necessary advertising and promotion to push the format moniker.

And the Blu-ray camp is certainly putting its displays where its research is. They are playing up the Blu-ray name with assuredness. No longer are the merchandising efforts tentative. The Blu-ray Disc logo is everywhere.

I can't help but contrast that with the display of Apple TV in the Apple store in the same mall complex. Whereas formerly the Apple TV device was in the display window, now — even after CEO Steve Jobs' big announcement of a rental service — the device is just one of dozens of display components inside the store. It certainly isn't a focus of the store's display plan.

Thus, slowly and subtly, Blu-ray is making its name in store displays at Blu-ray supporting companies, while Apple TV has been relegated to one of many offerings at the Apple store.

If store placement is any measure, I'd say Blu-ray's future has gotten brighter since mid-2006 and Apple TV's has dimmed. Although the format battle isn't yet over, the Blu-ray camp at least has put the chips down in the merchandising arena to bet that it is. Incidentally, at the Sony store a clerk told me just that: “The format war is over. Warner has gone Blu-ray.”

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