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Sony’s UMD Format Dying Off

With its year anniversary upon us, PSPs proprietary Universal Media Disc may soon be a home entertainment avenue of the past, according to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Universal Studios Home Ent., Paramount Pictures Home Ent. and Image Ent. have stopped releasing titles on the UMD format while retailers are shrinking the amount of shelf space they've been devoting to UMD movies. Rumors are abuzz that Wal-Mart will soon discontinue the sale of UMDs completely. Moreover, Buena Vista Home Ent. and 20th Century Fox Home Ent. have significantly pulled back on their UMD release schedules.

Paramount Pictures Home Ent. spokeswoman Brenda Ciccone told THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, "We continue to evaluate the PSP platform for each title, and if it makes sense for business reasons and the target audience, we will release them. Our focus right now is much more aimed at HD at the moment, though."

A high-ranking executive told the REPORTER, "We are on hiatus with UMD. Releasing titles on UMD is the exception rather than the rule. No one's even breaking even on them."

"No one's watching movies on PSP," said the president of one of the six major studios' home entertainment divisions. "It's a game player, period."

Multiple factors may be going into the formats quick demise. Many feel the novelty has worn off. With last falls release of Apples video iPod, the market changed quickly for video play on handheld devices. Another reason may be the glut of titles 239 movie and TV titles that actually outnumbers the amount of games available for the PSP.

In an effort to salvage the PSP as a viable media player, Sony Computer Ent. execs are in talks with the Hollywood studios to discuss plans for making the PSP able to connect to TV sets.

Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Ent., said, "We're hoping the format's going to be reinvigorated with next-generation capability that may include living-room or normal television playback.

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