Did HD-DVD buy itself a place at the table?

In a story from L.A. Weekly, it looks like members of the HD-DVD camp paid Paramount Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 to $100 million each for "promotional consideration" of HD-DVD titles.

This information comes on the heels of Paramount/DreamWorks Animation announcing their support of HD-DVD. Until recently, 7 out of the 8 "major movie studios (Disney, Fox, Warner, Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate and MGM) supported Blu-ray, and 5 of them (Disney, Fox, Sony, Lionsgate and MGM) release their movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. Only Universal was exclusively HD-DVD."

Making this all more the interesting is that earlier in the year DreamWork's Jeffrey Katzenberg was quoted as saying that these next generation formats were really only for "cinephiles." If that's the case how does Dream Works or Paramount benefit from getting behind one title?

Also, the sales numbers for Blu-ray discs have "outsold films on rival HD-DVD 2-to-1 in the U.S. in the first half of 2007." In addition to this, megarenter Blockbuster also seemed to be throwing its weight behind the Blu-ray format.

With so many companies (and consumers) seeming to say that they favor Blu-ray over HD-DVD these new developments all mean one thing... this situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. However, I am sure that consumers will be treated to some cutthroat deals from both HD-DVD and Blu-ray in the process.

Cinemark Movie Club
Evan Jacobs