Warner, Fox Blu-Ray Bribery?

Think the fallout from the Warner Bros. Blu-Ray defection has settled down yet? Think again.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has published a startling story today that claims that not only did money change hands in regards to the Warner/Blu-ray deal, but that 20th Century Fox was also paid off to stay with Blu.

According to the report, Warner actually wanted to go HD DVD but would only do it if another studio were brought in and gave HD-DVD backers time to come up with that arrangement. Once done they would have had four of the major six studios behind it, leading it to likely win the format war.

That other studio was Fox, the least reliable and prodigious of Blu-ray’s exclusive backers who has frequently delayed their title releases. What ones the studio has put out have been mostly catalog releases that have had several problems.

Fox was apparently lined up, and told the HD DVD camp it was going to switch to HD DVD, but nixed the deal at the last possible minute as Fox apparently received a reported $US120 million payout from Sony to stay Blu-ray.

Warner then switched and apparently received between $US400 and $500 million for its defection. WHV home video reps have denied claims of a payout, but right up til their defection last week they repeatedly denied any plans to change either – rendering their credibility dubious at this point.

UPDATE (1/16): Author Don Lindich has removed all references to money paid and Fox’s involvement in his blog posting of the article after Fox got in touch with him about it.

The Blu-ray move by Warners continues to have impact on the high-definition field with dual format adult studio Digital Playground revealing that they plan to stop releasing porn on HD DVD probably by the end of 2008.