Daily Blog – Ross Jones – March 27, 2008: WILL WE LEARN FROM THE LAST FORMAT BATTLE?

I opened my Netflix envelope yesterday and found it contained an HD DVD. I’d forgotten that I still listed HD DVD in my Netflix preferences, and was taken by surprise. Last weekend, my kids were watching the HD DVD of Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I know that a single format is supposed to be better for consumers, manufacturers, retailers and studios, but lately I’m feeling pangs of regret. Not over which format “won,” but that the interested parties weren’t able to figure out their differences and provide customers with both options (or alternatively, figure out a unified format before launch). I’m hopeful that when the history of the format battle is viewed through the lens of historical context, the lessons learned are more about avoiding the next battle rather than how to win the next one.