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VMD to hit US with '100 titles'

Blu who?

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Versatile Multilayer Disc (VMD), one of the lesser-known formats jostling to become the successor to DVD, will launch in the US later this year with the release of more than 100 titles, the company behind the technology pledged today. To indicate the VMD's support among the major Hollywood studios, New Media Enterprises (NME) said the launch titles will include... er... "several Broadway shows".

Well, exactly. Not quite in the same league as Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD, is it? VMD's technical propostion may be impressive - a 50GB disc containing ten layers each capable of holding 5GB of data to be read using red laser technology - but without a very good content proposition, the format will have a tough time establishing itself in the States, let alone delivering solid market success.

Still, that's where NME has set its sights. "The US is no doubt our biggest market," said NME CEO Mahesh Jayanarayan today, despite early suggestions that the company would be focusing on emerging HD markets such as the Indian sub-continent, home of Bollywood and an audience with an almost insatiable desire for movies.

To target the US market, NME also said today it has appointed one Jeff Burrow, formally a senior sales and marketing executive with DirecTV. Burrow will oversee NME's soon-to-be-opened Dallas office, from which the company will seek out content deals, and market VMD media and players.

NME will have to be quick if it's to survive the promotional tsunami the consumer electronics giants and major content companies are going to drive this coming Holiday season. It may be able to pitch VMD as a cheaper HD alternative but, again, cost doesn't matter a hill of beans if the content isn't there.

NME said it recently secured the support of commercial disc manufacturer Plasmon OMS. ®

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