After disappointing sales, movie studios are cutting back on releasing their films on Sony’s proprietary UMD format. Sales of UMD movies were strong when the PSP first came out but the initial novelty wore off and people stopped purchasing them. Retailers such as Wal-Mart are even thinking about dumping the category all together. Currently, Paramount and Image Entertainment have both backed out of the UMD business while several other studios are cutting back on UMD movies releases. The problem: no ones watching movies on their PSPs according to the president of one of the six major movie studios. A more accurate answer would probably be that no one is watching UMD movies on their PSP.
Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, was a big believer in PSP as a movie-watching platform. He still is, even though he concedes retail shelf space for UMD movies is on a sharp decline and his own studio is being “more selective” in choosing movies for UMD release.
Feingold believes the PSP’s biggest drawback as a movie-watching device was the inability to connect the gadget to TV sets for big-screen viewing, “which would have made it more compelling,” as well as the inclusion of memory stick capability.
“I think a lot of people are ripping content and sticking it onto the device rather than purchasing,” he said.
I think that’s exactly right, the UMD format can’t be played on anything besides the PSP so people are simply buying the DVD and ripping it onto their MemorySticks. That way they can watch it on their TVs and PSPs. However, Sony Execs are beginning to discuss with Hollywood studios about making the PSP able to connect TVs. Will this save the UMD movie format? Possibly, but I think a separate UMD player would be more useful.
via Yahoo! News