By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Feeling the need for a promotional campaign that is "more focused" on the DVD-Audio format, members of eight companies and organizations announced the formation of a DVD-Audio Marketing Council during the recent Home Entertainment Expo, here.
The new body will seek to promote DVD-Audio players and titles, and educate the public to the benefits of the new format.
Members said the council was needed because the DVD-Audio message was getting lost in the wash of new formats being added under the DVD umbrella.
Founding members include Warner Music Group, Silverline Records, BMG, EMI Recorded Music, 5.1 Entertainment Group, Meridian Audio, Dolby Laboratories and Panasonic (MEI). The council is actively recruiting additional members from both the hardware and software industries.
The DVD-Audio Marketing Council will serve as a resource for all technical, press and marketing information related to the DVD-Audio format in the United States and Europe. It also will educate hardware and software retailers to the benefits and features of DVD-Audio while simultaneously promoting consumer awareness of the format.
Craig Eggers, Dolby Labs consumer technology marketing director, called the council "a loosely knit group whose sole purpose is to promote DVD Audio."
Unlike the DVD Entertainment Group, which supports all DVD-related entertainment formats including DVD-Audio, the DVD-Audio Council will not have a charter or formal dues structure.
Eggers said the council would likely meet on a project-by-project basis for planning and budget allocation.
The new body will also operate along side the member 5.1 Entertainment Group and could work in the future with the DVD Entertainment Group, Eggers said. He added that the DVD-Audio Council and DVD Entertainment Group would not be rivals in any way.
Although the DVD Entertainment Group has promoted the release of DVD-Audio players and titles in the past, sources said some companies have become frustrated that the format has been lumped into a generic "DVD music" classification.
In addition to DVD-Audio this can include DVD music videos, DVD singles and 96kHz/24-bit 2-channel music. Thus far the DVD Entertainment Group has not promoted the DVD-Audio rival Super Audio CD (SACD) format.
Amy Jo Donner, DVD Entertainment Group spokesperson, said her organization welcomed the new DVD-Audio Marketing Council. She added, "We are both trying to the do the same thing, but they have only one initiative."
Meanwhile, the SACD format has gained momentum recently with the release of legacy catalogs by such major stars as the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Creedence Clearwater Revival (most in 2-channel format). The format also received a boost with the recent 30th )anniversary release of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" in a hybrid CD/multichannel SACD format.
For its part, the DVD-Audio format received a boost when Fleetwood Mac added its brand new release "Say You Will" to the list of over 500 DVD-Audio titles (most in multichannel format) in the marketplace. It joined the group's previously released mega-selling "Rumours" album as a DVD-Audio offering.
On the hardware side, the format gained an edge by moving into mobile entertainment, as both Toyota and Acura committed to factory installations of DVD-Audio players, while companies including Eclipse, Kenwood, Panasonic and Pioneer, offer aftermarket DVD-A car systems.
In home systems, nearly 50 DVD-Audio capable players are available from more than 25 hardware manufacturers.
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