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It's Time to Roll Up Our Sleeves

26 Jun, 2007 By: Stephanie Prange

The state of the DVD business is stable but open to change, as evidenced by the sixth annual Home Entertainment Summit: DVD & Beyond. The conference was produced by Home Media Magazine and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group in cooperation with The Hollywood Reporter and the Entertainment Merchants Association.

While the two new high-def formats — HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc — as well as increasing avenues for digital delivery are opening up new vistas for studio content, the bread-and-butter business of DVD is still healthy, even though it has entered a mature phase, conference attendees said.

The highly anticipated presidents panel noted that the fourth quarter of this year should give the DVD business a boost, as big box office hits from the summer slate hit disc. The high-def panelists seemed optimistic and determined that studios and DVD producers would come up with interesting and creative ways to use the new HD formats. They likened it to the early days of DVD when the industry began to back innovative extras that brought increased value to the new format. The digital-delivery panelists also seemed ready to work toward making that segment of the business an additive rather than cannibalistic revenue stream.

In contrast with the days of double-digit growth, in which the industry was content to rest on its laurels, as well as the panic period, when studios wondered if DVD would drop off too fast, this year's crowd was more matter-of-fact in viewing the business and eager to work at growing it.

HD panelists noted that the innovative HD extras of today will surely be surpassed by innovations just months down the line. Digital panelists seemed more sure about the problems that needed to be solved to make that business take off. And the presidents panel seemed content to follow the consumer with an eye toward profitability, but without many concerns as to what it may mean for particular business segments at the studio.

All in all, the industry is focused on doing the hard work to take the home media segment into the future — whatever it may hold.

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