Paramount Ready To Defect From HD DVD To Blu-ray: Report

It looks like Toshiba’s booth at CES is going to look a little lonelier: Paramount is ready to switch its allegiance from HD DVD in light of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s decision to choose Sony’s (NYSE: SNE) Blu-ray disc technology, FT reports. Viacom-owned Paramount and Dreamworks Animation signed on with Toshiba’s HD DVD format last summer. But Paramount made sure to insert a clause in the deal that allows them to pull out if WB goes with Blu-ray. However, it’s unclear whether that clause covers Dreamworks Animation as well.

Before its announcement on Friday, WB had been sitting on the fence, releasing its home video in both formats. Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate all use Blu-ray. With the inclusion of WB in that group, Blu-ray can claim roughly 70 percent of Hollywood studios’ output goes from its current 49 percent share to roughly 70 percent. WB’s agreement with Sony on Blu-ray goes into effect on June 1. With Paramount seemingly settled, the next one to watch is Universal. So far, it has not unveiled its DVD plans, but at this point, it seems like a matter of time before Universal goes exclusively Blu-ray too.