Sony committed to targeted UMD launches

PSP maker says it is working with movie studios to better understand PSP owners and tailor UMD media for them.

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The Universal Media Disc, the proprietary format for Sony's PlayStation Portable, has shown signs that it may go the way of the Sony-made Minidisc and Betamax. Though movies formatted on UMDs quickly generated excitement in the industry after the portable's launch, subsequent disappointing sales have caused many movie studios to scale back their support.

In an interview with United Press International, senior vice president of marketing for SCEA Peter Dille says Sony hasn't yet given up on UMD movies. But in order for UMD movies to stay afloat, Dille says movie studios are going to have to understand the PSP owner.

"SCEA has been providing the Hollywood studios with data on the PSP consumer, both from a demographic and psychographic point of view, in an effort for them to better tailor their product offering to this new and emerging market," he said. "As such, we have seen studios cutting back on releasing their full content on UMD, as unlike the DVD market, the PSP consumer is targeted. We are committed to helping the studios better understand our product and our consumer and will continue to educate them as we evolve and enhance the functionality of the PSP."

It may take more than a few charts and graphs to keep the latest home video releases on UMDs alive. Gamers have been ripping DVDs onto memory sticks for as long as they have been playing Lumines, and even Sony recently announced memory-stick movies called Memory Stick Entertainment Packs.

Retailers are also questioning the future of UMD movies, as Best Buy and Wal-Mart have reportedly cut back on UMD shelf space and Target has nixed the format altogether.

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