Super Bowl XLII: Toshiba to Buy Ad for HD DVD

Toshiba, HD DVD’s chief proponent, plays to buy one 30-second spot in Sunday’s Super Bowl (at a widely reported $2.7 million) in order to stress the lower price points and other so-called attributes of its various HD DVD players over rival Blu-ray Disc.

The lone ad buy comes as the firm is offering lower MSRP on it players in the wake of Warner Bros.’ pre-CES announcement earlier this month that it would drop the HD DVD format for all its movie titles by late spring.

Because it is traditionally the most-watched television program of the year in the United States, that means the Super Bowl is now the most-viewed HD event as well, and more people will be watching the play-by-play and the commercials in HD this weekend than ever before—a record likely to be beaten next year, and perhaps for the next several, until HD set sales eventually level out and HD in the home becomes as ubiquitous as analog TV was once.

Able to point to a viewership last year of more than 93 million people, Fox is closing in on the $3 million mark this week for a single 30-second spot for some advertisers, according to Advertising Age.

With the vast majority of commercial spots Sunday expected to air in HD, the major advertisers will include Anheuser-Busch (which has exclusive rights among all brewers for the next five Super Bowls; it will air eight spots for Bud and Bud Light),, Frito-Lay, and (after a few years’ absence) Coca-Cola, and Victoria’s Secret. Most, like Toshiba, will air only one spot.

Sony did not plan to air any Blu-ray Disc spots during the day’s events, but that could change.