High-def milestone: 100,000 units

Warner's dual-format release of 'Departed' sets record

Warner Home Video said that it is the first studio to have sold more than 100,000 copies of a high- definition disc title with "The Departed" and maintained that the milestone was achieved because of its dual-format strategy.

Warner is one of just two studios, along with Paramount Home Entertainment, to release its films on both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD.

"It's no accident that Warner is the first to achieve this benchmark," WHV president Ron Sanders said. "We owe this success to a combination of great product and our decision to support both high-definition formats."

By releasing titles on Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, Sanders said, "Warner Home Video not only increases our potential audience reach but also offers consumers assurance that regardless of the format they choose they can enjoy our movies."

In March, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment said it had shipped, rather than sold, 100,000 copies of "Casino Royale," which was only released on the Blu-ray Disc format. According to Home Media Magazine's market research department, actual sales as of the end of April stood at 74,280 units. At that same point, the Blu-ray Disc version of "Departed" had sold 58,300 units, while the HD DVD edition had sold 35,300 units.

Sanders said Warner's dual- format strategy has given the studio a 30% share of the next-gen disc market — as well as five of the 10 top-selling high-def disc titles (the others are "Superman Returns," "Batman Begins," "Happy Feet" and "GoodFellas").

"High-definition media represents an incredible opportunity for the industry, and we as content providers can help push mainstream adoption by producing in both formats and giving consumers a simple choice," Sanders said. "At a time when the home video business is flat and high-definition media presents our best hope for near-term growth, it is unfortunate that we as an industry continue to perpetuate consumer confusion."

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are releasing their films only on Blu-ray Disc, while Universal Studios Home Entertainment is alone among the six majors in releasing product only on HD DVD.

Minimajor Lionsgate also is in the Blu-ray Disc-only camp.
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