Disney and Buena Vista dive into DVD… finally!

We just got off the phone with the good folks over at Buena Vista Home Video
and we have been able to find out some exciting news about the company’s
future DVD plans.

There are some good news and there are some bad news, so let’s start with the
bad news first. There are still no plans at Buena Vista to create and release
any 16×9 enhanced discs. Buena Vista still feels there are just not enough
widescreen TV sets in the market that would justify the additional expense
and work for anamorphic DVD releases. Although there are a number of requests
from the company’s customers, they still represent only a small – though very
vocal – group within a niche.

Now for the good news. First of all, the folks at Buena Vista have repeatedly
told us in the past that they are trying to increase their monthly DVD output
but a number of issues, mostly legal in nature, have caused titles to fall
through the cracks repeatedly. A spokesperson of the company told us today
that Buena Vista are taking the legal implications extremely seriously and
make sure to obtain complete rights to any material they intent to publish on
DVD, which is also part of the reason why their discs do not feature a great
deal of extras. Now, many of these issues seem to be resolved and Buena Vista
are preparing a huge slate of releases for the months to come. As of May and
June, expect to see 12-15 titles a month from Buena Vista and its affiliated
partners, Miramax, Touchstone, Dimension and Disney.

Speaking of Disney in particular, Michael Johnson of Disney has only recent
made an public statement which insinuates that Disney is planning to finally
start shipping their animated classic movies on DVD before the end of this
year. The article, published in “Video Week”, is a very clear signal and
although no release dates or details have been announced yet, our spokesperson
at Buena Vista confirmed the validity of its content today.

So, if you have been waiting for the animated Disney classics, the wait is
almost over. We will certainly see title announcements during the summertime
with releases following in fall, just in time for the 1999 Christmas Holidays.

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