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Random Thoughts, Observations and Musings....

15 Dec, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Ah, technology! I am listening to a CD of Christmas songs that includes a rare 1971 rendition of "Oh, Holy Night" by Gary Puckett, the 1960s pop star I once managed (1979-1981). I found the song on YouTube, downloaded it for my RealPlayer, transfered it to iTunes and ultimately burned it onto a CD.

But hey, we're not here to read about me boasting about my technological prowess, are we? As the Christmas tunes play on I am reading a surprisingly thoughtful update on Blu-ray Disc in the Wall Street Journal, by Sarah McBride (to see the story, click here). The story details the studios' big push of Blu-ray Disc in the holiday season and skillfully avoids using any industry jargon to explain such elements of said push as price reductions, combo packs and flipper discs. McBride also quite accurately describes Blu-ray Disc as "potentially a critical bulwark against the plunging DVD market, now in its third year of decline."

It's a good story, an accurate story, and a far cry from the "disc is dead" stories we've come to expect from the mainstream media. McBride notes that while Blu-ray Disc sales are on track to account for about 14% of packaged media sales this year, half what DVD was doing compared to VHS in year four of its existence, the big push could realize significant gains in the coming year, beginning in January, when the studios will target new Blu-ray Disc households drawn to the format by the cheapo players we began seeing in Wal-Mart and elsewhere in the days leading up to Black Friday.

I did find it a little ironic that the only studio president quoted in the story, talking up Blu-ray Disc, was Craig Kornblau, who during the format war was the chief cheerleader for the rival (and ultimately vanquished) HD DVD format. But hey, he's a smart guy, and he went Blu in a big way as soon as HD DVD backer Toshiba threw in the towel back in February 2008.

On another note, let me throw some kudos toward 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for throwing a spectacular party Saturday night at Seth MacFarlane's Beverly Hills home for the DVD and Blu-ray Disc premiere of the latest "Family Guy" feature, Something, Something, Something Dark Side, a sequel to the animated sitcom's Star Wars spoof. The unexpected downpour proved no challenge for Fox SVP James Finn and his team — MacFarlane's backyard was tented and plastic-sheeted and the party went on as scheduled, complete with a 50-piece orchestra and a guest list that included Paris Hilton and Alyssa Milano. (see story here)

Clearly, event marketing hasn't fallen by the wayside. And I've got a hunch when other studios see how much press Fox got for this little shindig, we should start to see more of these events again, regardless of the economy — or the weather.

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