Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blu-ray licensing

Yesterday’s comment about Blu-ray licensing at Apple's MacBook announcement had me puzzled. What was this "bag of hurt" that Steve was on about? Is it the money that Apple would have to pay to put in Blu-ray hardware (and software that writes to Blu-ray?) Is it licensing issues for people writing Blu-ray discs? Or is it both?

Or something else?

Well I did discover that Roxio already has a Blu-ray plug-in for Toast that will write Blu-ray content to either a Blu-ray player, or even a DVD disc (I didn’t even know that you could put Blu-ray content onto a DVD!) Interestingly, it’s an additional $20 (ontop of the $80 for Toast.) I can't help thinking that one of the reasons they didn't just include it in the package was because of extra licensing fees they had to pay. At a guess, it sounds like if Apple added Blu-ray support to iDVD (iBlu-ray) would they have to pay $10-20 per machine for licensing too? That’s probably the kicker.

As to licensing issues for users, that’s probably only an issue for mass production (and that’s not Apple’s concern anyway.) But I did find out some interesting stuff about that too. A friend sent me this link to an article about Blu-ray licensing. The Ins and Outs of Blu-ray Disc Replication and Licensing by Hugh Bennett.

The interesting part of that article - and you have to get to the bottom to find it – is the summary of licensing costs for pressing a Blu-ray.

Quantitatively speaking, for 1,000 copies of a simple title, all these demands add at least $7.54 overhead to the price of a single disc (calculated as a one-shot deal). Based on my earlier examples, this works out to roughly $11-12 (SL) to $13-14 (DL) each for a finished product.

Note: for more info on licensing, see also: Blu-ray Disc Licensing for Small Publishers, Duplicators, and Independent Studios

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