Sony Pictures Finds PSP Synergy
John Gaudiosi's new edition of Portable Hollywood takes a look at Sony Pictures and their PSP UMD efforts. Check it out!
No home entertainment studio has released more movies on Universal Media Disc (UMD) for Sony Computer Entertainment's PSP than Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE). It's an example of Sony synergy that has helped the PSP quickly evolve into a true portable entertainment device.
"We work very closely with the PlayStation division to understand the PSP consumer," said Alison Biggers, vice president, worldwide marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. "We're also working together on joint marketing efforts to make sure these consumers are aware of the games and the movies available on UMD."
The best example of this corporate synergy is now available on retail shelves. Sony's Stealth movie/game combination, which retails for $40, offers consumers the theatrical film, as well as three levels of gameplay from WipeOut Pure: Stealth Edition.
"We worked closely with Sony to create an original level of WipeOut Pure: Stealth Edition, which features graphics and imagery from the movie and allows players to race in the actual Stealth plane from the film," said Biggers.
Biggers said this hybrid UMD is a great way to show the convergence potential of the device. It introduces consumers to both the film and the game and it adds value to the product by giving PSP owners something they cherish - gameplay. Biggers said SPHE will monitor sales for Stealth over the holiday months before embarking on similar game/movie combos in the future.
"We look at this as a different kind of release," said Bigger. "There are a lot of things that we can do with PSP. It's really early in its life. We haven't had a Christmas yet to see the full potential of the device in terms of sales."
SPHE is also stepping into the TV market place early with UMD. The studio has released three-disc collections of "Good Times" and more. SPHE is using a different packaging for its UMD TV programming so that consumers can keep their discs portable.
"We think TV makes sense on UMD. TV offers shorter programming in 30 to 45 minute shows. You don't need a full two hours to watch TV. The big issue for TV on UMD has been space in terms of how many discs it takes to put a season on.
Biggers said future TV shows will be chosen for UMD based on sales. The first two TV series were strong sellers on DVD.
"We wanted something that would hit the demographic of the PSP user," said Biggers. "We're testing to see what the market will take and what is working."
Biggers said SPHE will continue to target day-and-date releases with DVD titles like Deuce Bigelow: European Gigalo, Bewitched and Into the Sea. She said the studio will also continue to release catalog films that target the PSP market, including comedies like Joe Dirt and White Chicks. And the studio will tie in UMD releases to theatrical offerings, as it did with the Jumanji UMD release, which coincided with the theatrical sequel, Zuthara.
"We're seeing that action and sci-fi movies work, but that if you get the right comedy, that can work, too," said Biggers, who pointed to the success of Hitch.
With all the major studios on board, UMD has revolutionized the home entertainment business in a matter of months. It took DVD nine months to get its first 100,000 unit-seller. UMD already has a dozen, including the Sony hit The House of Flying Daggers.
"The rollout of the DVD format was a much longer process," said Biggers. "UMD has benefited from the fact that PSP is a PlayStation product. Consumers flock to this brand."
Another fast-moving evolution in the UMD format is the expansion of the user base in the U.S. Over 2.4 million PSPs have been sold to date (with another 2.5 million expected to sell by year's end), and fathers are handing PSPs to sons, and brothers to younger brothers.
"Everyone is releasing great movies on UMD," said Biggers. "We're starting to see a wide array of content. What began as specifically targeted films for the 18 to 34 year-old male demographic has expanded to both a younger and a more mass market audience."
Biggers said the sweet spot for PSP is still gamers and points to the success of the two Resident Evil movies on the format.