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Avatar Arrives on 3D Blu-ray

November 26, 2010

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Twentieth Century-Fox's Avatar was released on 3D Blu-ray Disc (3D BD) in key international territories on 1 November 2010 as part of an exclusive bundling deal with Panasonic. The title, authored by Panasonic Hollywood Laboratories, is only available to consumers outside North America who buy Panasonic 3D hardware. Exact details vary by territory. In some countries consumers will receive a copy of the 3D BD with any Panasonic 3D hardware purchase; in the UK they must buy both a 3D TV and BD player but in return receive two pairs of 3D glasses, Avatar and three further films: Fox's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Universal's Coraline and a music 3D BD. Australian consumers who have already bought a Panasonic Viera 3D TV may also claim a free copy of the 3D BD from Panasonic, although at the time of writing a similar offer had not been announced in Europe.

Although neither Panasonic nor Fox has confirmed details of their co-promotional strategy in the US, it has been widely reported that Avatar will be made available to buyers of Panasonic 3D TVs, along with two pairs of 3D glasses, on 1 December 2010, and that early (Panasonic) adopters will be able to claim a copy of the title with proof of purchase.

Although expected, Fox's decision to bundle Avatar exclusively bucks the trend for current 3D BD releases which IHS Screen Digest analysis shows are increasingly being released in retail stores as well as, or instead of, being bundled with hardware. However, it was inevitable that Avatar would be exclusively bundled with Panasonic hardware, given the long-standing relationship between the hardware company and James Cameron's groundbreaking movie. The initial offers are only for a few months, although reports suggest that the exclusivity will last at least six months - longer than many other bundling agreements. This would arguably not only benefit Panasonic but also Fox, as the number of 3D BD enabled homes will be higher once the title is finally released. Alternatively, the studio may opt to release Avatar to retail on 3D BD earlier in the year (for example, on 22 April - Earth Day - and the anniversary of the title's initial release). Whenever it is released to retail, the relationship with Panasonic is likely to continue through non-exclusive bundling deals and/or co-marketing campaigns.

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