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Analyst Predicts Studios to Become DVD Format-Agnostic

Based on its forecasts of next-gen DVD sales in America and Europe through 2011, a London-based media analyst concludes that the two new incompatible formats—HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc—will survive at least for the next several years because studios will soon discover they’re “leaving money on the table” by not issuing their respective titles in both formats right now.

According to Screen Digest, those movie and TV studios that support only one format (such as Disney with Blu-ray and Paramount with HD DVD) could be missing out on significant consumer revenues—perhaps as much as $270 million in 2008.

Even the studios that are siding exclusively with the currently perceived leader, Blu-ray (namely Sony, Disney and Twentieth Century Fox), may be forfeiting as much as $175 million by refusing to issue their packaged content in HD DVD, too. (Conversely, HD DVD-only content providers, the analyst said, are missing out even more by refusing to issue titles in Blu-ray.)

Consequently, the study predicts the single-format studios likely will reassess their positions sometime during 2008. Paramount’s recent jump from being agnostic to backing only HD DVD actually will make it easier for others to become format-agnostic because they will not be “solely responsible for prolonging a format war,” the British analyst said.

It also predicts this upcoming holiday season will prove crucial in showing both formats’ backers that they are missing out on sales by excluding one format or the other.