Sony UMD Format Might Be Endangered Species

Sales for Sony’s Universal Movie Disk are disappointing, studios are cutting back or halting release in the format, and retailers are cutting shelf space, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The format was introduced last year for PSP movie viewing; the PSP doesn’t have a hard drive. But, an unidentified president of a studio home entertainment division, dismisses the PSP as a movie player. “No one’s watching movies on PSP. … It’s a game player, period.”

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has stopped production. One high-ranking exec tells HR: “It’s awful. Sales are near zilch. It’s another Sony bomb — like Blu-ray.” Paramount Pictures is on hiatus; an exec there says no one is breaking even on the format: “Releasing titles on UMD is the exception rather than the rule.” Image Entertainment is out, too. Other release schedules have been slashed.

It’s a far cry from the way UMD appeared to be going just after launch last year, with 100,000-plus unites sold in two months. The video iPod is offered here as a PSP movie killer. Might have more to do with price and lack of use in other devices. Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, suggests the greatest flaw may be the inability to connect PSPs to TVs for big screen viewing — something that may be on the way to be fixed. He’s hoping for next-gen capabilities that up the appeal.

Related: PSP Signs On Five Major Movie Studios; TV Shows

Movies on Sony PSP: Sales Figures Still Unclear