Next Generation Media Format War will be won in 2 places (& they’re not Japan or Silicon Valley)

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Hollywood only has delusions of grandeur, it won’t be the majordomo in the next-generation media format wars, neither will Microsoft or any of the Japan-headquartered consumer electronics companies.The battle of disc versus disc will be won in the San Fernando valley and the rogue disc factories of China (and elsewhere) who will crank out pirate copies. However if you read coverage from the CES industry show happening in Las Vegas, you wouldn’t pick up on this.

AVN, the US adult industry’s news website has been debating the benefits of the different formats for quite some time. Reading the articles shows that the San Fernando valley based industry has been thinking HD for quite some time.

Don’t believe me, then have a look at the history of VHS versus Betamax, or for a more modern phenomena see the rise of paid-for content on the net, how many porn-stars and glamour models feature on print advertisements for moble phone wallpapers?

Key factors for consideration include:

  • The cost of duplication: one of the reasons why porn voted VHS according to industry veteran Al Bloom, discussing the price difference between blank Betamax tapes and VHS with AVN “Sony didn’t quite understand that if they sold their tape to the adult duplicators at a cheaper price that the format would have probably survived because the technology was better. They didn’t understand that people were buying these things to watch porno.” These economics are also important for the pirate plants that will fuel the sale of hardware in developing markets.
  • Backward compatibility: Bruce Mendelson of Legend Video sees the next generaton disks as an “extension of the existing formats” rather than a whole new products. Consumers will have a similar view and look to be able to play their existing library of DVDs.
  • Compelling reason to purchase: Bloom “I don’t think the technological shift is nearly as great this time around. Back in the ancient 8mm days people were used to silent seven-minute reels, usually black and white, though there was some color reels out there. Then with videotape you could get a full hour with sound and color.” The lack of a compelling reason to purchase is a potential stumbling block for both formats.

Another company which may suffer at the hands of the adult industry is Apple, despite having pushed HD video and having some of the best editing and post production tools on the market, it was Windows Media version 9’s format the the first HD adult film was distributed in last year.