Blu-ray Gets $25M Push

Having won the standards war against HD-DVD, Blu-ray, a competing format backed by Sony, will now fight for economically squeezed consumers’ attention with a $25 million campaign themed “Tru Blu.”

TV ads, which began running last Sunday, feature clips from films like Hancock, Pineapple Express, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Wall-E and others, to illustrate the wide array of titles available thanks to cooperation from Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video, along with consumer electronics brands Panasonic and Sony. The purchaser of the ads is the Digital Entertainment Group, a Los Angeles-based consortium that includes Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba and Microsoft to promote DVD technology.

The effort, via Trailer Park, Los Angeles, is not the first to promote Blu-ray. Past efforts have positioned the format against HD-DVD, which was backed by Toshiba. In February, however, Toshiba abandoned HD-DVD.

Now Blu-ray’s primary obstacle is a cash-strapped consumer who may not be up for buying Blu-ray devices, which start around $250. According to DisplaySearch, U.S. consumers are projected to buy about 2.4 million standalone Blu-ray players this year, which is about three times the number sold in 2007.

Megan Pollock, a rep for the Consumer Electronics Assn. in Arlington, Va., said she expects consumers to stomach the cost. “Consumers don’t look at this as much as a luxury item as in the past,” she said. “They’re not cutting it out as much as, say, vacations.”

Pollock said consumers often reason that if they also cut back on eating out and going to the movies, spending money on a home theater “does start to make sense as an investment.”