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Getting consumers warm up on Blu-ray

By: - Assistant Business Editor / @CNarismaINQ
/ 12:31 AM August 12, 2011

The Philippine market seems to have started going for high definition televisions (HDTVs), with their prices almost already approximating those of the good old CRT (cathode ray tube) TVs.

But the market could not seem to warm up on the Blu-ray system. Manufacturers and distributors tried applying the same strategy as that applied to smart TVs, bringing down the selling prices of Blu-ray players from as high as P30,000 when they were introduced three years ago to as low as P7,000, and selling them in a package with TVs and other accessories.

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The efforts, however, do not seem to work as buyers still prefer their old system despite the Blu-ray system’s promise of a much better viewing experience.

Sales of Blu-ray players are not growing as fast as desired, and Samsung Electronics Philippines Co. (Sepco) knows exactly why—it is because of the prohibitive cost of Blu-ray discs. This is what Sepco is now trying to address in partnership with TradePort E Solutions Inc.

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Amby Navarro-Molina, Sepco’s AV product marketing group head (consumer electronics division), says the market finds Blu-ray discs too expensive at about  P1,500 each. Thus, she says, Samsung and TradePort have come up with a scheme that will bring down the cost of Blu-ray movie viewing.

On August 15, Sepco and TradePort will launch the Samsung BluPass Promo—a Blu-ray disc rental scheme exclusive to Samsung customers. Under the program, customers purchasing a Samsung Blu-ray player or flat panel TVs (LED, LCD and Plasma TV) sold in a package with Blu-ray players automatically get Samsung BluPass cards.

For the next six months after purchase, the buyers get rent-free Blu-ray discs, ordered via the Internet and delivered right to their doorsteps by TradePort messengers. The discs will also be picked up by TradePort when customers are ready to return them.

After six months, the customers can choose from three BluPass packages: the Silver card, which costs  P1,490, entitles the customers to rent 10 discs within six months; the Gold Card, P2,990, gives one unlimited discs rental for one year; and the Platinum, P3,990, allows a customer to rent two discs at a time, unlimited for a year.

“The Samsung BluPass is a privilege that allows its subscribers to rent high-quality regular and 3D Blu-ray titles from a vast online library of movies, and audio-visual entertainment for free,” Samsung says in a statement.

“These Blu-ray discs will be delivered by TradePort messenger right at your doorstep without extra cost.

John Sherwin de la Cruz of TradePort says its “library” would initially have 500 titles and an inventory of 50,000 to 100,000 discs of these titles.

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For Metro Manila customers, TradePort promises next-day delivery while those in nearby provinces—Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga and Rizal—delivery will take about a week.

BluPass cards should be registered online. Once registered, customers can start accessing their respective BluBox, where they can put at least 10 titles of what they intend to rent. The requests will be queued in TradePort’s system and will be acted upon immediately depending the discs’ availability.

Customers, except Platinum Card holders, can rent and receive only one disc at a time. The borrower can keep the disc for as long as he wants but he will not be able to rent another one until the first disc is returned.

Molina says the promo, which ends on Dec. 31, 2011, is aimed not only at encouraging the market to shift to the Blu-ray system and boost Sepco’s sales, but also at helping in efforts to curb piracy problems in the country.

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TAGS: Blu-ray, company, Consumer Issues, electronics, Samsung Electronics Philippines, system, technology, Television
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