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Sony: New Titles Key To Blu-ray Disc Plans

Sony plans to grow sales of the pending Blu-ray Disc (BD) format behind a steady stream of new release titles, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president Ben Feingold told members of the press, here.

Speaking to an audience that had just seen Sony’s home electronics division unveil Blu-ray Disc player pre-launch promotional plans, Feingold said Sony Pictures is witnessing “an explosion of demand for content at the same time that DVD sales numbers are in decline.”

He said Blu-ray is “really going to keep our business healthy for the next 10 years,” adding that some mistakes will occur “because it happens in life when you launch a format.”

“It’s very important for all of our allied businesses to upgrade the viewing experience in the home, and that’s what Blu-ray’s all about,” Feingold said. “If there ever was a project for what [Sony chairman] Howard Stringer would call ‘Sony United,’ it’s this Blu-ray project. It crosses every piece of the company — not just for Sony but also for the consumer electronics industry, the IT industry and the software industry.”

Feingold said that when Sony Pictures begins rolling out BD titles in three weeks, it will follow a software strategy to roll out a steady stream of catalog titles and new releases.

“Two weeks after the launch of the DVD ‘Underworld Evolution,’ it’s going to be live in the stores [in BD format],” he said. “New-release movies are going to drive [BD] sales. Such titles as ‘Click,’ ‘Monster House,’ ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,’ and ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ which is doing fantastic worldwide, are going to be available on Blu-ray.”

Feingold said Sony’s united divisions will be focused on building excitement for the consumer, and driving “the message for those who watch movies in the home, to move over to this upgraded wonderful Blu-ray experience.”

Meanwhile, Scott Dinsdale, Sony BMG Music Entertainment operations and new technology executive VP, announced that his division would release two high-definition music videos on Blu-ray this summer: “John Legend — Live at the House of Blues” and “Rod Stewart — Live at Albert Hall.”