Piracy fears stall Sony and Philips DVD launch

Sony and Philips have postponed their plans to launch Digital Video Disk (DVD) players this year because Hollywood film studios have not released enough films capable of being shown on the system.

The high-quality combined music and movie players have been touted as the technology that will lift flat sales in the consumer electronics industry. TVs, for example, show a stagnant growth in sales over the past four years, according to market researcher Mintel.

However, major film studios like Disney, Universal and Twentieth Century Fox have withheld support because of fears over recording piracy. DVDs are not designed to be recordable but if pirates crack the encryption codes they will be able to produce perfect copies of Hollywood films – in contrast to video piracy, which produces films of decreasing quality as more copies are produced from the original tape.

A spokeswoman for Sony says: “We will not be launching DVD this year. We had planned to do so, but there will not be enough software.” A Philips spokesman adds: “We see no point in launching DVD this year. There is no software to play on it.”

Sony says it plans to launch the system in the UK early next year, in conjunction with a catalogue of films from Sony-owned Columbia Tri-Star. Philips has no plans to release its system until there are “hundreds of films and programmes on the shelf and as many more in the pipeline”.

Earlier this month DVD players went on sale in the US, where a number of films are available as a result of companies testing their systems. DVD systems have also launched in in Japan, where much of the software is for karaoke performances.

These DVD models use encryption systems that would be inoperable in Western Europe.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here