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Did I Make the Grade?

7 Jan, 2008 By: Stephanie Prange

It's prediction time in the media business, with even USA Today asking readers to speculate on the future course of the high-definition disc format war. It's also time for me to evaluate how I did looking into the crystal ball last year. Here are a few of my predictions from January 2007. I'm going to grade myself on accuracy. I'm sure, dear readers, you'll let me know if I've been too easy on myself.

Prediction: High-def disc sales will take off — finally.

Grade: D. They started to grow, but certainly didn't take off.

Prediction: Blu-ray will be the winner of the high-def war based on slow but steady penetration of players, including Sony's PlayStation 3.

Grade: C. Blu-ray discs consistently dominated weekly sales by a 2-to-1 margin, but Paramount changed the game by going HD DVD exclusive, and the expected knockout punch didn't happen. The format war is far, far from over.

Prediction: DVD will continue to hold its own as consumers buy and rent a strong slate of hits.

Grade: B. DVD sales didn't drop off a cliff. However, the little disc began to show its age.

Prediction: Digital delivery of movies will continue to be hyped, but actual profit will remain elusive.

Grade: A. The hype was certainly there, but the money wasn't, as Movie Gallery shuttered its MovieBeam, and Wal-Mart, too, got out of video downloading. Even Steve Jobs changed his tune on the much-vaunted Web-to-TV device Apple TV. He went from dubbing it a DVD player for the 21st century to calling it “an experiment.”

Prediction: Current fascination with home video on YouTube and MySpace will dwindle as folks realize that it's just “America's Funniest Home Videos” on the Internet.

Grade: F. This phenomenon is here to stay. Anyone willing to showcase themselves on the Web by whining about Britney Spears or performing some other kind of stunt can still find 15 minutes of fame.

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