HD DVD Backers Announce $150 Million Ad Campaign

A newly combined group representing the seven major companies backing the HD DVD next-gen format is funding a $150 million ad campaign to promote the high-def format in time for the 2006 holiday shopping season. The group made its announcement at the Video Software Dealers Association conference in Las Vegas this week.

The seven firms include Toshiba, Microsoft, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, Paramount Home Entertainment, HP and Intel. The companies jointly plan to form a trade group -- the North American HD DVD Promotional Group Inc.

Each member company reportedly will contribute funds to the PR venture, entitled "The Look and Sound of Perfect," although it's not known if they will be in roughly equal amounts (which would be about $21.4 million each). The non-profit promo association, which has hired the advertising group Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to plan and execute the campaign, will push their HD DVD hardware and software via mostly traditional venues: television, print, online, and billboards.

The campaign also will include an 18-wheel demo truck called the "HD DVD Mobile Experience," which is scheduled to begin touring the U.S this summer as part of the PR campaign.

Toshiba had already conducted its own U.S. tour last winter to promote its HD DVD products (HD Notebook, March 22, 2006). No word yet on whether the Blu-ray guys have something similar up their corporate sleeve.

Currently, the only HD DVD players on the market include the Toshiba HD-XA1, HD-A1, and the RD-A1, which includes a hard-disc recorder.