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Disney CFO: ‘We Are Maximizing Blu-ray’

21 Sep, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

CFO Jay Rasulo says the studio continues to utilize the high-definition format to extract what remains of the physical retail channel

The Walt Disney Co.’s CFO, Jay Rasulo, Sept. 21 said the studio remains bullish on Blu-ray Disc, incorporating the high-definition format into catalog DVD releases and new releases with digital copy.

Speaking at Goldman Sachs 20th annual Communacopia Conference in New York, Rasulo said Walt Disney Studios continued to leverage the potential of Blu-ray and DVD, underscored by a strong conversion rate of theatrical to incremental home entertainment revenue. That said, Rasulo compared the packaged media retail market to melting ice.

“Whether that ice cube is in the desert or elsewhere is a matter of debate,” Rasulo said. “But it’s definitely a melting ice cube.”

The CFO said Disney is trying extract remaining revenue from the physical channel DVDs. The studio continues to have a better conversion rate from box office to home video than the industry average due in part to the way Disney packages home entertainment releases, Rasulo said.

“We are maximizing Blu-ray for whatever it is,” he said. “But clearly, over time, this is a market that is moving over to digital.”

Reiterating previous company statements regarding the promotion of Bob Chapek to head a revamped consumer products division, the CFO said Disney’s myriad retail “touch points,” which include consumer products, publishing, home video and video games, provided an opportunity to utilize Chapek’s strengths reorganizing and transforming Disney into a singular brand to retail.

“Which is akin to the responsibility [Chapek] had in a big bulk of his career when the home video business was his sole responsibility,” Rasulo said, adding that Chapek, with more than 20 years experience at Disney, also will oversee licensing of the Disney brand.

“He will represent [home video] to the extent that there are still physical DVDs being sold at retail,” Rasulo said.

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