Warner Home Video was one of the first companies to start the trend of producing excellent DVDs, ones with beautiful transfers of great films and bonus features that are entertaining and informative, not just tacked on. For any other company, dayenu, it would have been enough.
But now Warner Bros. Entertainment, like the titan Atlas, is taking the world on its shoulders, or more precisely, trying to bear an entire industry on its back. Of course, it makes sense that Warner would do this. They have one of the deepest libraries around, so they benefit greatly if consumers start collecting discs again.
What am I talking about? The DVD2BLU promotion of course. Right now Warner Bros. is offering to take any regular commercial film DVD and five bucks and give you back a high-quality Blu-Ray. Now, they may have over-manufactured these discs. But I’m assuming this price is not much over cost. (And anyway, what’s Warner going to do with the discs that are sent in? Shred them, most likely.)
But what is the effect of this? If it works like I’m betting Warner is hoping it works, it gets people collecting discs again, which is exactly what this industry needs in order to not have to deal with the new business models that the success of streaming is bringing down the pike.
My friends who collect films have already started converting their libraries over to Blu-Ray. But for folks like me, who despite being film lovers have avoided ‘going Blu-Ray’ and been waiting patiently for HD streaming to rev up, this is a really attractive deal. Is it just too late for Blu-Ray to gain popular traction like DVDs? I think so. But if the other studios followed Warners’ heroic lead, maybe not. We might just see a horse race.
[Thanks to 3bie JJ for the alert.]