Universal Studios Socializes, Gigya Dig it < Blu-Ray

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is combating declining sales with layoffs and shifting its resources

Last week, Sony Pictures streamlined its home entertainment division to focus more heavily on digital distribution and to combine its domestic and international sales units.

via Sony Pictures to cut 450 workers as DVD sales decline – latimes.com.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment, also staring at declining sales, is taking a different approach to using new technology and acknowledges it has room for improvement

The sales funnel begins with awareness in digital media, moves into engagement and then into conversion through one-on-one interactions. “If fans are having a conversation on your Facebook page, then you’re probably a lot further down the conversion funnel,” he says. One failure for Universal’s use with on augmented reality technology, it didn’t get the campaign out on the street early enough.

via MediaPost Raw » Blog Archive » Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s Look Into Social Media.

Universal sells themselves short, after all they have introduced BD59 flipper discs.  Unlike Disney and Warner Bros., Sony has yet to include DVD on all theatrical releases preferring to maximize the potential revenue and offering  PSP digital copy and streaming from PSN as an alternative.  This places consumers who still want a physical disc in the position of choosing to either buy DVD, perceived by some as obsolete, or a more expensive BD.  If you have not yet upgraded their Home Theater to include a BD player, which do you choose?  You probably punt on the BD or DVD question, especially when considering you may order it On Demand or Watch Instantly from Netflix.

For those that must have the highest quality, it is BD or bust.  But again, considering most experts agree 1080p has noticeable benefits on screens over 50″ and cost, streaming at 720p on a 46″ HDTV display gets the job done.

Universal is learning from its self proclaimed Augmented Reality mistake, however, and there is no better proof than the social network component of their BD Live website Universal HiDef.  What better way to hit the streets with a campaign than to use viral marketing?

Like other studio’s BD Live site you need to create an account.  Universal, however, has partnered with Gigya and incorporated the Gigya Socialize widget so you can link your Universal HiDef account to your existing credentials on:

Universal calls it Social Blu.  You can even add your friends from Facebook and twitter.  Why only those two?  Hey, they are still learning.  It’s a start.  And a good one at that.

Another weird difference from other BD Live sites, Universal Studios still believes in the honor system.  Other BD Live communities:

  • place your BD into your BD player
  • connect to the studio’s BD Live website from your BD player
  • limits your friends to others that have similarly followed this process

Not at Universal HiDef.  Just scroll through the Universal BD library and check off  I Have it on the BD‘s you own.  You can share comments on BD you have in common with your buddies.  Your buddy’s not there?  Invite them to join Universal HiDef from the site.  Refreshing isn’t it?

So go ahead, sign up, you don’t even need to own a Universal BD yet.  But once you do, your social networks will be there waiting for you.  Who knows, your social graph’s comments may sway you to buy a particular title over another.  Now wouldn’t that be something.  Happy viewing.

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