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September 2, 2005


Michele Garra Talks Movies on PSP

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Michele Garra may not be a name that gamers will be familiar with at the moment however with the Playstation Portable certain to generate plenty of excitement with its movie playing capabilities she is a key player in its success in Australia. You see, Michele is the Managing Director of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (SPHE), a position she has held since 1996. In 2002, Michele was elected Chairman of the Australian Visual Software Distributors Association (A.V.S.D.A) and now holds the position of Vice Chairman, representing the Video and DVD distributors on key industry issues including piracy and classification.

It was our great privledge recently to be able to hold an interview with Michele in which she discussed the Playstation Portable's movies and how Sony Pictures will be backing the system.

Firstly Michele, I would like to congratulate you on your presentation and also demonstrations of PSP Movies at the PSP Media Launch on 10th August. How was the response to your showing and in particular the lineup announced at the event?
It is very exciting to be involved in the launch of PSP. Itís quickly winning hearts and we are very upbeat about its potential for movie usage. The announcement of our extensive line-up of 18 titles at launch has received some very encouraging and positive feedback from media, trade and consumers alike.

Can you explain to the readers exactly how SPHE is committed to delivering quality content on PSP? Would it be fair to say that UMD movies will become a major format in future?
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is committed to offering Australian consumers the same extensive range of titles that are available in the U.S. In the coming months, we will release 15 odd titles per month to Ďcatch upí with the U.S. market. As a policy, we will release the UMD for major titles on the same day as the DVD release. I believe UMD movies will be a major format in the future as PSP is set to become the dominant handheld device for watching movies.

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On PSP before DVD!
As we know the PSP is launching on September 1st in Australia and you have announced that 18 titles available at launch from SPHE. Can you fill us in on the retailers that will be stocking the movies? Will everyone selling the PSP also be selling your movies?
All of the major retailers of DVD in addition to the games retailers will be selling movies on UMD. Every retailer that is selling the PSP will definitely be selling the extensive range of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment UMDs available at launch including two premieres on UMD Ė xXx: THE NEXT LEVEL and BE COOL which will actually be weeks ahead of their DVD release.

SPHE are going all out to ensure a steady flow of movies (and TV shows) are available on the format. How big do you anticipate the market will become here?
We anticipate that weíll eventually be approaching one million users and that forecast is based on the current portable game products and MP3 devices.

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The directors cut.
A couple of titles, namely Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Not Another Teen Movie, Daddy Day Care and 7 Seconds have already been released through Sony Pictures in America. Given that they arenít on your pre-Christmas schedule are they likely to come out here after Christmas or are they unlikely to be released?
Yes, we will definitely be releasing those titles on UMD as soon as possible in the New Year. Stay tuned for more details.

On your press release for the launch you listed Seinfeld Seasons 1-3 as To Be Confirmed. Can you clarify what the status is of this title on UMD? Surely there would be very high demand for the title.
At this stage, the release of SEINFELD Seasons 1-3 on UMD is yet to be confirmed but as soon as it is, weíll advise the release details. I agree entirely, Iím certain there will be an enormous demand for SEINFELD on UMD. It has been hugely popular on DVD and is one of the highest selling TV series on DVD.

Following on from the previous question TV Shows have been positively received by the consumer when released on DVD, and we welcome their move to PSP. In fact, we feel that the short 20-30 minute episodes are more suited to PSP as people have time to watch them while commuting than full-blown movies. Are TV shows something which Sony Pictures will actively look at releasing on PSP in future?
Absolutely. PSP is perfect for watching TV shows on and weíll advise as soon as Sony Pictures extensive range of TV series have been announced for release on UMD.

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Hitch will do well.
We noticed that one of the greatest comedies of all time, Married With Children Season One, is coming to DVD in October this year. Is there any chance of this being released on PSP in future as well?
I will check the timing of the release of MARRIED WITH CHILDREN SEASON ONE on UMD with our LA office and get back to you.

DVDís generally include special features such as commentaries, behind the scenes documentaries and so on. Is this something that we are likely to see on PSP UMD in future?
At this stage, the inclusion of special features on UMD is an issue due to the space on the UMD depending upon the running time of the feature movie on the disc.

Michele we would like to thank you for your time, do you have any other comments you would like to make to our readers?
Itís 2005, letís enjoy our entertainment, when and where we want to.

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