Treading Physical Media Waters: Warner Bros. and Universal Create New Joint Venture

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(January 15, 2020) Facing rapidly declining disc sales and the shackle of operational costs, Warner Bros. and Universal have announced a proposal to join forces for up to a decade. Earlier today, the two media giants issued a press release detailing plans to merge their North American physical media operations under a joint venture company. Pending approved by the United States government, this company will become fully operational during Q1 2021.

The North American joint venture directly affects operations in both Canada and the United States, where the it will handle sales, retail marketing, and distribution for DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UHD discs. Each studio will continue to manage their digital distribution businesses separately, while also retaining content and consumer marketing for both physical and digital realms.

“As the home entertainment landscape evolves, we are continuously working to deliver the best entertainment range and value to our fans,” said Sanders. “The physical business is still an important and active category for the industry. This proposed joint venture with Universal gives us the best opportunity to foster innovation in this business, optimize the physical offering and extend the lifespan of the format for our fans and consumers.”

Outside of the North American joint venture, Warner Bros. and Universal are also combining forces for foreign operations during Q3 2020 and Q1 2021. Under this agreement, Universal will distribute Warner Bros. physical discs in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Japan, while Warner Bros. will distribute Universal discs in the U.K., Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

This, of course, is positive news for fans of physical media, as pooling resources allows the companies to remain committed to disc formats despite deteriorating market conditions.
 

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tripplej

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So basically, instead of both studios creating discs for all regions, they are just splitting up the regions to cut in half their costs. Universal does region A and WB does region B for both studio's essentially?

This will help cut the costs down for sure for both studios.
 

Sal1950

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Anything that can be done to prevent the disappearance of hard discs is great.
I don't know of any streamer offering the disc quality sound of lossless Dolby Atmos or DTS-X
Lets not go backwards in quality for the sake of convenience.
 

Todd Anderson

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Kaleidescape is it... and it’s download. Hopefully the Kaleidescape model will continue to strengthen
 

Sal1950

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Kaleidescape is it... and it’s download. Hopefully the Kaleidescape model will continue to strengthen
Yep, a really nice setup, but a little out of my financial ballpark. :(
 

Todd Anderson

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Right now it’s expensive. But, that could change as great demand pushes for the service.

We’re about to begin wading in unknown waters... hopefully discs will continue to be made while we transition. The nightmare scenario is a collapseOn the manufacturing side without a middle-ground alternative.
 

tripplej

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Well, just keep in mind that Netflix, which is streaming service, still has millions of people subscribing to get dvds in the mail.
 

Sal1950

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tripplej

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Since Kaleidescape is way too high for most people, dvds are the way to go for the masses and will stay for that reason alone. :)
 

Sal1950

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Since Kaleidescape is way too high for most people, dvds are the way to go for the masses and will stay for that reason alone. :)
From your lips to Gods ear. ;)
 

tripplej

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The death of DVDs has been in the news since the 2000s and yet they are still around. :)

Streaming is just not there in terms of quality and as affordable as it should be. Plain and simple.

:)
 
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