Digging deeper into digital

DEG sharpens focus on alternative platforms

The Digital Entertainment Group is getting more, uh, digital.

Based in Los Angeles, DEG is comprised primarily of studio home-entertainment divisions plus some consumer electronics companies and historically has focused on packaged media first and digital delivery secondarily. But with a tweak of its mission statement and committees announced Thursday, DEG aims to broaden its membership and deepen its commitment to emerging technology.

"Most noteworthy is the expansion directed at the digital media landscape, an area that has seen significant and steady growth in recent years," the group said.

DEG will focus more on "increasing supply-chain efficiency" -- translation: expanding digital schemes without cannibalizing package-media sales -- as well as helping the industry reduce its "carbon footprint" through greener processes. The group formerly had working groups aligned along content or technology lines; four newly composed committees address old and emerging platforms, market efficiencies and public relations.

The changes were made after due consideration of any antitrust concerns that might nag at industry trade groups, with pricing discussions perhaps the most forbidden of topics for any DEG committee. But with DEG this month estimating a 4% annual decline in consumer spending on home-entertainment products through June, the group is anxious to adapt to the challenging times.

"Unprecedented consumer demand for better quality and more flexible options for content has created the need for DEG to examine its current practices, DEG and Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders said.

"Now that these changes are implemented, the DEG will be better prepared to respond to the current trends," said Bob Chapek, DEG chair and president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.