An article by trade paper Hollywood Reporter has painted a picture of ever-dwindling support for Sony's UMD movie format, which currently plays solely in its PSP gaming handheld, with Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures reported to have dropped support for the format entirely.
Falling support for the format was first reported in February
following lower-than-expected sales, with the Hollywood Reporter now quoting an unnamed Universal Studios executive of exclaiming, “It's awful. Sales are near zilch. It's another Sony bomb - like Blu-ray."
Although Paramount has stopped short of announcing a total end to support for the format, spokeswoman Brenda Ciccone is cited as saying: “We continue to evaluate the PSP platform for each title, and if it makes sense for business reasons and the target audience, we will release them … Our focus right now is much more aimed at HD at the moment, though”.
Image Entertainment is also reported to have ended support, with 20th Century Fox and Buena Vista also drastically cutting back. An unnamed president of “one of the six major studios’ home entertainment divisions” is quoted by the Hollywood Reporter as saying, “It’s a game player, period.”
Retailer support has also become less enthusiastic in recent months, with Wal-Mart rumored to be on the cusp of dropping the format entirely. Too many titles being released too quickly is one reason given for the format's fall from favor, with many analysts suggesting that consumer interest has worn off, amid high prices and the launch of products such as Apple’s video iPod.
Sony’s main hope for reinvigorating interest in the format comes from plans to allow UMD movies to be watched on home TVs, as well as just the PSP, with Sony Computer Entertainment executives reported to be currently making the rounds of Hollywood studios to discuss the plans.