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Leibbrandt is new Blu-ray Disc Association Europe chair

The Blu-ray Disc Association has announced the appointment of its regional Promotions teams chairs. Andy Parsons has been re-elected for the U.S region; Yutaka Komai was re-elected for Japan/Asia Pacific region. For Europe, Niels Leibbrandt (pictured) from Sony Europe takes over from Frank Simonis who stands down after completing his 2-year mandate.

Leibbrandt brings a wealth of experience and modern marketing methods in the arena of introducing new entertainment formats. As well as working with Sony Europe, he was previously promoting technology standards within Philips Electronics, based at the company’s Eindhoven headquarters.

“Blu-ray must consolidate the strong growth it experienced in the fourth quarter of 2008,” says Leibbrands. “Many European consumers do not fully understand what Blu-ray is, nor do they understand how to get true High Definition picture quality on their HDTV. What is less known too is that Blu-ray Disc covers applications areas such as loss-less 7.1 audio,” he continues, “or that consumers can go online with their BD player to browse the latest movie content. Or that there are Blu-ray computer drives and editing software that offer the ideal solution to store HD Camcorder footage safely.

“Although European Blu-ray Disc players and movies sales achieved tremendous Q4 growth in 2008, we still have a formidable promotional challenge remaining in Europe before the format is self-propelling.”

“BDA Europe will continues to drive European promotion initiatives by supporting local Blu-ray task forces and independent industry organisations,” sayd Leibbrandt. “We will work on consumer messaging and promotional tools explaining the benefits of Blu-ray in an easy way. We will drive Life-style PR and online initiatives to reach tier 2 consumer segments and we will co-operate to enhance visibility of Blu-ray Disc at the shop-front.”

Despite a strong showing at CES, the BDA still sees a number of challenges ahead before the format is fully integrated within the mainstream. “It’s definitely not job done!” states Victor Matsuda, the recently re-elected chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association’s Global Promotion Committee.

“While we had a break-out year in '08, we definitely have to continue all efforts aimed at the continued proliferation of the format, especially during this economic environment. We also need special attention for the format's "enhanced" features. Lastly, we need to continue to emphasise the possible co-existence of Blu-ray Disc and digital downloads within the same market ecosystem,” Matsuda adds.

Story filed 09.02.09

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