Studios slow UMD movie production

Poor sales force movie production houses to cut back on PSP-formatted flicks; noncomedy genres are first to get canned.

When Sony released the PlayStation Portable last year, many industry watchers felt as though the movie-watching capabilities were limited by the handheld's proprietary format. The Universal Media Disc, many argued, would go the way of the Betamax and the Minidisc, formats both made by Sony that were eventually edged out of the market because of competition and their limited usage.

Would people pay money to buy movies that could only be viewed on the four-inch screen of the PSP? Out of the gate, the answer was surprisingly "yes." Seeing the format as a viable option for more revenue, many film studios, some reluctantly, jumped on the bandwagon and announced support for the format.

Now, it appears that many are hopping off as quickly as they got on. Paramount Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, and yes, even Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, are cutting back on UMD releases because of poor sales, reports Variety.

Warner has cut six titles from its previously announced lineup, including Martin Scorsese's classic Goodfellas. Sony, realizing that comedy UMDs sell much better than action or horror UMDs, will be adding Not Another Teen Movie and Monty Python content to its lineup. Sony will also begin releasing movie bundles, selling a movie on DVD and UMD in one pack for just under $30.

An abundance of formats and piracy (DVDs can be ripped to larger memory sticks) are cited as likely causes for the falling demand, which right now nets about 40,000 to 50,000 units sold for the average release, according to Variety.

To hype demand for UMDs, Sony is said to be pushing an adapter that would let PSPs play UMDs on televisions.

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296 comments
BlackRing
BlackRing

Sony's failure to do real marketing research has kicked them in the butt again! They need to learn to stop making proprietary products. Sony is always on the forefront of technology, but at some point all of the time and money they put into design will be lost if the consumer doesn't want it. On the other hand, if Sony made the technology available to everyone, the demand might increase exponentially. I mean, even Bill Gates didn't predict the potential of Microsoft in the beginning.

BlackRing
BlackRing

Downloading still reigns supreme! Why doesn't the industry take note of the power of the consumer, the 'power shift,' as Alvin Toffler calls the power of the consumer to make intelligent decisions in the marketplace because of the Internet. Basically, the industry is still oblivious to this trend when it comes to UMD movies, and they're trying to find out how to make money with the new technology. Just when the industry thinks they have another way to make money, they fall into the same old trap from the old days...product push. They fail to check with the consumer and do a little marketing research to determine what the customer really wants, so they wind up making a product and trying to push it on the public just to find the consumer does what he wants. The company is left, scratching it's head and wondering how their marketing went wrong, thus the case with UMD movies. Come on! Figure it out! Look at what the consumer wants and find out how to make a profit! If Sony or the other companies can't figure it out soon, some other enterprising young entrepreneur will. Sony remains on the forefront of technology with the unrealized potential of the PSP, and they thought the UMD movies market would boom. Instead, the real market lies in downloading free stuff, or ripping DVDs onto another medium acceptable to the PSP format. As far as the PSP interface to television watch UMD movies, the consumer and aftermarket companies are going to find a way to solve this economically. Sony, watch and learn. When will Sony and the rest of the industry learn to look at the marketing research, observe the consumer, and follow the trail of clues that point to the technology the public really wants and provide it? The industry is still struggling with how to maximize the abiltiy of the Internet when it comes to downloading free entertainment. They want to make money, but they don't understand how. There's always a way, they just have to find it.

Agent5000
Agent5000

Another reason for this iz b/c they are poorly advertised!!!!! DUH!!!!!

OutComeTheWolfs
OutComeTheWolfs

Honestly, I am glad they aren't doing that well any more. I mean they think they can charge 25-30 for UMD's with NO features and get away with it? I mean the stupid things will only play on PSP. Its kinda like exploitation. I hope this forces studios to start pricing them more reasonably, and giving us a few extras.

volumesoxxs
volumesoxxs

YAYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO DS!!!!!!!!!

omegaA18
omegaA18

Ummm, hello? we just wont buy a bad movie for the Psp just to suport movie companies. For example, making remakes of movies that we already saw on VHS is NOT worth buying it for the sleek Psp. Hollywood makes a good movie, Hollywood gets rewarded, the only UMD movie that will sell good is not even from Hollywood, FF7ac, then again I could just rent it on DVD;)

Solid_Monkey
Solid_Monkey

hmm at my current games to movies ratio in my library, 9:2. this might be a good thing for the whole psp community

Drickt
Drickt

That's awesome about the bundle packaging. I think that's a great marketing tool. I saw this coming though.

greenblink013
greenblink013

*sigh* I have a feeling that Sony is making bad decisions on the PSP system. It has way too many movie, and not enough games. I think that it's really good that Sony is cutting back on the movies, and hopefully this will mean better games because the PSP doesnt really feel like a hand held game system. It feel's more like an ipod with a huge screen that can go online.

airflorida
airflorida

The biggest problem with UMD is sony's unending desire to create a proprietary media format. As the article mentions both betamax and the minidisc failed because they were proprietary and Sony was reluctant to allow competitors in the market to develop devices which used those formats. Of course the irony with Betamax is that it provided better quality in a smaller cassette than VHS. I'm sure UMD would work if they allowed competitors to make theirown UMD players etc. I don't know the videoquality of UMD but I imagine there would be a market for a smaller format disc. Certainly people buy portable DVD players. UMD could tap into that market if it allowed other companies to build players and drive up demand. However, as long a Sony keeps using proprietary media formats they are doomed to failure.

nauman_97
nauman_97

screw psp ! just watch movies on dvd players

adam92682
adam92682

DVDs are sucessful because porn was released on DVD early in the formats lifetime. I think if they released porn on UMD in the US like they do in Japan UMD would be doing better

ewjim
ewjim

Not good for Sony...

neoand12
neoand12

anthony_basic this is not the end of umd or brd

Jester0288
Jester0288

That adapter idea to play UMD movies on your television is so stupid. The UMD movies are highly compressed so they can fit on the UMD. Playing one on a 27" television set would look all grainy and pixelated. I don't want to even think of how terrible it would look on a HDTV. You'd be better off watching a VHS. Sony needs to worry about better games for the PSP and forget about trying to make new forms of media. Haven't they learned allready that every type of media they create fails. Someone needs to go and smack whoever is leading this project over at Sony.

THX-DTS
THX-DTS

Great... The psp is going nowere anyway...

penny670
penny670

sounds bad. but then agian those movies did cost too much i hope they put pokemon on there altest

BoobyUnger
BoobyUnger

I agree the UMDs should only be like 10 15 bucks for movies id buy them. It to much for a movie! Even if they made a hook up to the tv

hitman2066
hitman2066

well i dont know about all of u but the adapter to the tv sounds awsome for me scence i can carry a movie to a friends house - he doesnt have a dvd player- in a littile bundle instead of a huge freaking dvd player bundle. freak yea sony, psp keeps getting better and better. and if u havent noticed yet they always try to listen to their customers, for instance a webbrowser, picture recieve-send, the new adaptor, oh yea and the reason somany movies were made is because alot of people wanted movies to be made and they sold a hell of a lot.

williegmc
williegmc

The psp movies are too expensive and you can only see them on a psp but if there were bundle packs like they said that would be great on dvd and a umd

nima64
nima64

I agree with Antiman90. If you are going to make PSP movies make them cheaper like around $5-$10 since they have less content and I know a lot more people would buy them. Even people who just rent movies pay around $4-$5. PSP obviously doesn't have many good games out yet either. Sony needs both to compete with Nintendo in the portable market. There is a reason that Nintendo has been in the portable market so long, 1. killer games, 2. long battery life, 3. no load times. Sony has to somehow compensate for not having any of these 3.

SoralinkGS
SoralinkGS

I am not shocked at this news at all. UMD Movies are a waste of money and I was wondering when they would get canned. of course, UMD games are not much better.....$50!?!?!?!

makavelee
makavelee

The fact of the matter is UMD's are too expensive. Why would I buy a UMD disc that I can only watch on my PSP for $20-$30 when I can get a DVD for the same price or less, especially as 99.9% of the time the extra features are butchered. The movie studios are too greedy, they should expect that DVDs would be the first priority and charge less for their UMD releases... somewhere in the $15 range max.

ChrisMan514
ChrisMan514

right yes if you agree with me that the psp sucks. because it does . If you drop it it breaks so easlily and when you bring it in the cold the screeen crack. thank god that the ds folds and when you drop it it doesnt break!!!!

ChrisMan514
ChrisMan514

the psp sucks so much why not just get rid of it!!!

Keyser_So_So
Keyser_So_So

I guess the greatest problem was that people (including me) were much more happy to own the superior quality DVD, then just rip the movie to their PSP. Sad, though- but perhaps if they were sold for A LOT less, UMD movies would present a decent purchase.

John_3-16
John_3-16

I always said Sony's economic analysts thinking with their butts.

Spectre-123
Spectre-123

Wait... would that adapter allow us to play games on the tv?

ghostrc
ghostrc

The problem is that they cost too much. Whos going to buy a movie for $40 on the UMD, when you can get the same movie for $10 on DVD

RunningMansKid
RunningMansKid

The fact that the mocies costed so freaking much didn't help them. Maybe if they were as cheap as they were worth, like $12, I could stand buying them I only have 3 movies now.

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

Sony needs to quit wasting their time and resources (and ours, too) into overpriced, no-frills UMD movies and make some quality games. I am interested in the PSP, but it needs more games I'm willing to play (like some of Capcom's recently announced titles) before I truly commit to it.

joemic393
joemic393

Quick! Everybody jump to conclusions! FASTER!

DevSingh1359
DevSingh1359

To those people who think the PSP is "dying" slowly all because of this, it's not. This has nothing to do with the PSP "dying"...it just the UMD movies that are dying. And this won't affect most PSP users considering they all would rather save money by ripping DVDs and converting them then wasting it on UMD movies. These UMD movies are a waste of time if you ask me.

solidleader
solidleader

Oh well, we havent seen the end of the psp yet......hopefully

jgon_9
jgon_9

Finally, there going to release combo packs with dvd and umd, I've been saying they should do that from the beginning. Some umd's I see selling for almost double the price of the dvd version, which is crazy. The tv adapter might be a good idea, especially if it'll let you play psp games on your tv. Another good idea for pushing the umd's would be to add game demos with the movies, like they did with Stealth.

G-Corleone
G-Corleone

well.... i hope they know what they{re doing.

saturos
saturos

boy oh boy some people just wernt born with the skill of thought... Sony of course are geniouses therefor a UMD adapter that can play on TV = why buy a DVD when i can just get this UMD and play it on my PSP and TV that has better quality than a DVD...and of course that would boost PSP sales some what. good luck sony! make sure u get SOFTWARE to make King's Field for PSP kinda was the reason i got it :/

Nafda
Nafda

Instead of movies, Sony should focus their game franchises on the system, just like Nintendo has. Mario Kart finally online? Brilliant. Socom on PSP? Ackward as hell.

MattyMaggs
MattyMaggs

The general public won't be playing bootleg emulators on their psp, and their umb movie sales are trailing unprofitably. The games have way too long load times, and there is a lack of quality in the current titles. I really don't see the PSP moving up the ladder in the near future. As with all business ventures, considation of entertainment is second to innovation. Funny how the DS was initially created as a visually underscaled interactive device designed to attract non-gamers. Sounds like that strategy worked better.

Kiddinvalid
Kiddinvalid

just make them cheaper and put undercover brother in the lineup and you got me too buy at least 1

onlykafei
onlykafei

sony actually doesn't know what they are doin, they taken more off their barbeque...ahem PS3, then adding more trying to make it better than xbox. Theres no point in lookin at sony for a console, its just not worth it because they keep changing plans. More trustworthey companies are the way to go. So far nintendo kept its word for everything.