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Digital Hollywood Panelists Talk UltraViolet

23 Oct, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

MARINA DEL REY, Calif. —UltraViolet just celebrated two years in the marketplace, but the milestone went by with hardly any notice.

Mark Teitell, GM of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, the cross-industry consortium behind the service, is hoping future milestones garner more attention.

“The next thing is to pour some gasoline on awareness,” he said Oct. 22, speaking during an UltraViolet panel at Digital Hollywood.

The buy once, play anywhere digital rights locker service is now active in six foreign markets with more on the way, and now has more than 11,000 titles enabled. However, few users are adding additional household members to their accounts, and many people are still unaware of the benefits of UltraViolet in general, panelists said.

“You never want to be the best-kept secret,” said Mitch Singer, chief digital strategist for Sony Pictures. “Can we get to a point where consumers are as comfortable collecting in the digital arena as they are in the physical arena?”

He has family all over the world as members of his UltraViolet account. When he adds an UltraViolet-enabled title, they all have access, and that’s an amazing feature that hasn’t really been relayed properly to consumers.

“We’re doing a lousy job about educating consumers of the benefits,” said Brad Hunt, president of consulting firm Digital Media Directions.

Teitell is anticipating the results of a survey of UltraViolet users from The NPD Group, which shows that the service is just as satisfying to use as Netflix and iTunes. And the industry is gearing up for a bigger marketing push for UltraViolet.

“There’s a value gap in digital ownership that we should be closing,” said Justin Herz, SVP of direct-to-consumer business for Warner Bros. Digital.

Panelists did praise the late-September rollout of Target Ticket, the retailer’s UltraViolet-enabled digital video service. Currently new members receive 10 free, UltraViolet-enabled titles, just for signing up.

“[Target] had the advantage of coming at a time where they could see what had been done,” Herz said.

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