Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is using a soft sell to convince families that Blu-ray Disc should be the new entertainment choice for Mom, Dad and the kids.
With its national mall tour that kicked off at the Westfield Topanga center in Canoga Park, Calif., last week, Disney has engineered a splashy backdrop of about a dozen Panasonic high-def TVs running Blu-ray clips of Disney films and game bonus features. But executives say they mainly hope to explain the virtues of Blu-ray and the overall high-definition experience. According to the pitch, Blu-ray should be the obvious product choice when families are ready to upgrade their current DVD players.
“Disney’s Magical Blu-ray Tour,” sponsored by Panasonic, primarily emphasizes the advanced clarity in sound and video over standard-definition DVD of such studio Blu-ray titles as Wild Hogs
, Meet the Robinsons
and The Guardian
. So as not to confuse the singular Blu-ray message, presentations do not make direct comparisons with the rival HD DVD format.
“It’s great if they buy a Blu-ray player immediately, but our intentions are not as ambitious,” said Disney president Bob Chapek, who attended the event on Friday. “We want to demystify technology so it’s understandable to the non-early adopter consumer. BD will be the successor to DVD, so now we are thinking beyond early adopters and focusing on mass audiences.”
Up until this weekend, Blu-ray did arguably boast significant momentum, with titles selling twice the amount of HD DVD software in many stores. The horse race is now muddied by the decision of Paramount Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation to release titles exclusively on HD DVD
Still, Disney attracted attention to its display, where studio spokespeople said the 25-seat presentation area was at capacity during showings running twice every hour on Friday. After Sunday, the tour moves to South Coast Plaza
in Costa Mesa, Calif., and will eventually make a total of 18 stops.