Film studios cut back on UMDs

PSP to TV adapter on the way?

A Sony spokesperson has told our sister site, GamesIndustry.biz that UMD movie titles are still selling well - despite reports that home entertainment companies are disappointed with the format's performance so far.

According to Hollywood trade paper Variety, UMD sales figures are falling well below expectations - leading Sony Pictures, Paramount and Warner Bros. to rethink their planned release schedules.

Variety claims that Sony is planning to reduce the number of new releases it puts on the shelves, opting instead to concentrate on expanding the library of comedy content available with Monty Python films and Not Another Teen Movie. Apparently comedy is the most popular genre amongst PSP owners - Napoleon Dynamite has proved to be the best-selling UMD release so far.

Paramount has seen Chappelle's Show and Beavis & Butthead sell well, but the company does not plan to release any more titles in the next few months. A spokesperson said that Paramount will consider releasing "select films" on UMD in the future.

Warner Home Video has gone even further, cancelling the release of six PSP titles and stating that sales so far have been disappointing.

"We are re-evaluating our position on any future releases at this time," Warner executive Jeff Baker told Variety.

"We're looking at this on a case-by-case basis. We're disappointed with consumer demand at this time."

Retailers are also said to be less than happy with the performance of the UMD format, with Virgin buyer Chris Anstey describing demand for the titles as "modest."

"We have been encouraged by the results of a couple successful campaigns that we've featured to help promote them, but the overall impact of the format has still been nominal," he said.

However, speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, a spokesperson for Sony Computer Entertainment said: "UMD movie sales are still successful and we are looking at new ways to cross-promote future titles for 2006."

The Variety article also claims that "SPHE and sister unit Sony Computer Electronics America, which sells the PSP, are touting a new adapter that would allow a user to watch a PSP pic on a TV." Sony Pictures' Ben Feingold is quoted as saying: "It would be a huge boost to [PSP movies] if we can arrange for the disc to play on TV players."

The Sony spokesperson declined to comment, stating only: "I have no official confirmation on such an adapter."

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