Disney-Sony pact further chokes Blu-ray 3D market

Disney and Sony have just announced a pact to bring Alice in Wonderland and Bolt on Blu-ray 3D exclusively to Sony 3D TV customers, adding to a tangle of exclusivity deals that is ultimately afflicting consumers.

Under the deal, people who buy a Sony 3D TV will be able to receive the Disney Blu-ray 3D titles for free. At least for the time being, these titles will not be released in stores and are not going to be available through any outlet as standalone movies.

It is an increasing trend in the burgeoning Blu-ray 3D playing field, as movie studios find it hard to stomach the cost of producing a new format for such a small audience, and TV manufacturers are eager to provide incentives to come to their side. Thus, TV makers have been paying the studios to get exclusive rights to the Blu-ray 3D versions of their films.

Samsung and Dreamworks have a tight pact, allowing only people who buy a special Samsung 3D glasses bundle to get the 3D version of Monsters vs. Aliens. Shrek will also be getting a similar treatment. Meanwhile, Panasonic offers Coraline and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Panasonic also recently scored a major coup, gaining the exclusive rights to the Blu-ray 3D version of Avatar. That deal is widely assumed to be only as a timed exclusive.

The only Blu-ray 3D title that anyone can actually go to a store and buy is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, a Sony Pictures flick. Sony 3D TV buyers do get a copy of that movie for free, but Sony decided to also make it available for other 3D customers as well. Only a handful of other titles are expected to be pushed to retail within the next several months.