Where are the setup fees?
Yesterday I posted pricing information on the wholesale per disc costs associated with replicating Blu-ray and HD DVD media. The article has generated a lot of discussion and debates around the web. From the article comments and other discussions, I found that the number one item that people missed in the first article was the costs associated with the replication “setup” fees, which includes the mastering fee. This fee is normally waived or inconsequential for larger quantity replication batches, but it does bare some significance on smaller replication runs. After receiving some requests in the comments section of the last article, I spoke with one of my replicator contacts and he provided me with approximate setup fee costs. I have posted these setup fees in the comments section of the last article and have also included these in a table image below. My contact also reaffirmed a few pieces of information on pricing costs, numbered below.
#1) The setup or mastering fee is waived on larger orders
#2) The per disc cost of HD DVD-ROM DL is approximately equal to the per disc cost of BD-ROM SL (~$1.30).
#3) The per disc cost of BD-ROM DL is approximately 15 cents more than the HD DVD DL cost.
#4) These costs are likely to go down as time goes on and service (demand) increases.
#5) These are wholesale costs for the industry, going through a reseller or replication broker (such as ProActionMedia) will lead to higher costs.
Blu-ray vs HD DVD replication cost break down
The table image above shows the per disc costs and setup fee costs from replication plant #1. Remember that larger quantity orders of discs will have setup fees waived. From this we can see that Blu-ray SL discs cost more than HD DVD SL discs. But HD DVD SL is not often used, as the capacity is maxed at 15GB. A more interesting comparison would be to look at Blu-ray SL vs HD DVD DL costs or Blu-ray DL vs HD DVD DL costs.
Replication Example Costs Calculated
I have been told that the setup fees are waived at approximately 10,000 discs or more. With this in mind, let us look at the total costs for a theoretical batch quantity of 5,000 discs (setup fee applicable) and a batch quantity of 10,000 discs (setup fee waived). These examples only apply at this one replication plant, who happens to replicate both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. Costs will most certainly vary at other replication facilities.
Replication costs for smaller batches
Looking at the calculated example costs in the table above, we can see that HD DVD SL would be the most inexpensive media type to replicate in a 5,000 disc unit run. HD DVD SL is not often used though, so what is the next most inexpensive media type to replicate at this quantity? Looking at the calculated data, we can see that Blu-ray SL is less expensive than HD DVD DL ($9,000 vs $9,500) on a smaller batch where setup fees are required. And although Blu-ray SL is a bit less expensive in this situation, opting for this type would lead to a smaller capacity (25GB) compared to the HD DVD DL (30GB). A difference of 5GB might not matter much to content producers though, as most HD films should be able to fit on a 25GB disc. Blu-ray DL (50GB) comes in as the most expensive option ($12,250) at the 5,000 quantity run, but we probably all expected BD-ROM DL to be the most costly option. All in all, it is interesting to see that replicating on the Blu-ray SL format is not more expensive than HD DVD DL on small production runs. Using these example calculations we can see that if a content manufacturer was looking for the least expensive HD disc replication option, they would probably go for BD-ROM SL (25GB) unless only 15GB of capacity was needed.
Replication costs for larger batches
Again, looking at the calculated example costs in the table above, we can see that HD DVD SL would be the most inexpensive media to replicate on in a 10,000 disc unit run. HD DVD SL is not often used though, so what is the next most inexpensive media type to replicate at a quantity of 10,000? At this quantity, HD DVD DL and Blu-ray SL have an equal cost of $13,000. BD-ROM DL (50GB) again comes in at the most expensive option, with a total cost of $14,500 for 10,000 discs.
Blu-ray does NOT cost significantly more than HD DVD
Using the pricing data and example calculations in this article we can make a few conclusions on replication costs at this plant. Replicating on HD DVD SL (15GB) will always be the most inexpensive option at any quantity. Replicating on Blu-ray DL (50GB) will always be the most expensive option. But the pricing of the other two media types (HD DVD DL and Blu-ray SL) is where the most interesting information is. Looking at the pricing and calculated data we can conclude that replicating content on the Blu-ray format is not significantly more costly than HD DVD. In fact, replicating on Blu-ray SL (25GB) can actually be less expensive than replicating on HD DVD DL (30GB). Hopefully this article will help to dispell the myth that Blu-ray disc replication is significantly more expensive than HD DVD replication. If you have any comments please post them in the reply section of this article below and thank you for reading.