Panasonic Gets ‘Avatar' 3D Blu-ray Disc

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Panasonic

will be the exclusive launch partner of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for the 3D Blu-ray Disc release of the blockbuster smash "

Avatar

" in early December, Panasonic marketing executives said Thursday.

At launch, running through an undisclosed period of time, the disc will only be available to consumers who purchase a Panasonic 3D Viera plasma TV. The promotional offer will likely take the form of a variety of bundles onto the purchase of Viera 3D TVs and related equipment, although exact details are still to be announced, the company said.

Victor Carlson, Panasonic's consumer marketing VP, told TWICE his company will back the promotional offers using an integrated marketing campaign that will leverage the cooperation and resources of participating retail channel partners.

 The offer will mark the third phase of Panasonic's marketing relationship with Fox on the co-promotion of the landmark 3D movie.

Carlson said the latest 3D Blu-ray Disc launch arrangement was only recently determined and was not part of the agreement last year that involved Panasonic exclusively using 3D trailers of the film for demonstration material in Panasonic 3DTV equipment showcases that toured the country prior to the original box office release.

The second phase of those joint efforts last April involved a bundling promotion offering a $25 rebate on the purchase of a Panasonic Blu-ray Disc player or home entertainment system and a copy of the blockbuster film on a 2D DVD or 2D Blu-ray Disc.

The film, which has generated more than $2.7 billion in global box-office receipts to date, was one of the first that was made specifically for the 3D experience.

"For the consumer, there is really no better way to experience 3D in the home than with this particular disc," Carlson said. "This is the perfect marriage between this blockbuster made for 3D and what we think is the ultimate home entertainment system for enjoying 3D using our TV sets."

Carlson said Panasonic sees availability of 3D content "as a really important issue that we are trying to address."

In addition to its work with "Avatar," the company is the primary sponsor of DirecTV's new "n3D" channel and the channel's 3D telecast of this week's 2010 U.S. Open tennis tournament.

Panasonic rival Samsung had brought "Avatar" director James Cameron to the Time Square launch celebration of its 3D TV line in March, which generated rumors that Samsung was vying for the exclusive launch rights to the 3D Blu-ray Disc of the film, but Carlson said there was no "arms race" for launch rights or celebrity appearances.

"We are really trying to stay focused on what is best for our consumers and really see our mission as trying to create as much value for our customers as possible," Carlson said.

In that light, Carlson said Panasonic is looking to "do the right thing" for its early-adopter customers by working on a plan to make the "Avatar" 3D Blu-ray Disc available to customers who have already purchased a Panasonic 3D Viera TV. Details are still being worked out, he added.

He also could not say if Panasonic would make the disc available as a promotional incentive for the purchase of only a Panasonic Blu-ray player or Blu-ray home-theater system.

The "Avatar" bundle, he said, might not make the difference in a consumer selecting a Panasonic TV over a less-expensive competitors model, but "the entire package of what the Panasonic plasma has for the consumer is in itself the differentiator first and foremost versus anything else that's in the marketplace right now. The promotion, we think, for consumers who are on the fence will provide a really great incentive to make the purchase while giving them a fantastic piece of content to watch on the television set."

A spokesman for 20th Century Fox had not returned requests for comment when this was posted.

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