According to a report from movie industry paper and website Variety, film studio support for the PlayStation Portable-based UMD video format is slipping somewhat from the high volume at which the studios had been releasing new and catalog films. The slowdown in releases is due to lower-than-expected sales, blamed on a flood of releases clogging a limited market for the videos.
"We are re-evaluating our position on any future releases at this time," said Warner senior VP Jeff Baker, whose planned release of Goodfellas
on UMD has been canceled along with five other releases. "We're looking at this on a case-by-case basis. We're disappointed with consumer demand at this time."
According to the article, the average UMD release sells from 40,000 to 50,000 units, with the top sellers moving over 100,000 copies. Studios initially expected demand to be highest with action titles, such as martial-arts movies and horror films, but consumers have responded most strongly to comedies such as Napoleon Dynamite
and Chapelle's Show
Shelf space for the burgeoning catalog of UMDs is also becoming an issue with retailers. "We continue to carry most new titles," says Virgin Records buyer Chris Anstey, "and there is a modest demand for them, but there simply hasn't been a consistent growth of this new format to justify making more space for it. We have been encouraged by the results of a couple successful campaigns that we've featured to help promote them, but the overall impact of the format has still been nominal."
Sony is attempting to combat waning demand with UMD and DVD bundles
, but it remains to be seen if that strategy will catch on, and it appears that early reports of rampant UMD sales success may have been overstated somewhat.