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Strategy Analytics: UltraViolet Faces Uphill Battle

15 Sep, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Despite having major backing across the content, consumer electronics and distribution industries, the digital locker platform UltraViolet faces an uphill battle against more established services, according to a study by London-based Strategy Analytics.

“To drive consumer adoption, UltraViolet will have to offer a frictionless experience across multiple content and device vendors,” said Ed Barton, director of the strategy analytics Digital Media Service. “In the face of entrenched and fierce competition, UltraViolet will have to offer a clear and convincing answer to the question many consumers will naturally pose: Why use it?”

The absence of Apple from UltraViolet’s Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, or DECE, consortium — and to a lesser extent, Disney — is what’s most troublesome to Barton, not only because iTunes already is well established, but also because there’s no guarantee UltraViolet-enabled content will work on Apple devices.

“The emergence of UltraViolet will up the competitive stakes in the provision of digital media lockers and cloud-based content distribution. However a lack of compatibility with Apple devices or iTunes will discourage the highest spending digital media customer base from using Ultraviolet content which in turn impacts the value proposition,” Barton said. “Consumers love content which offers seamless device portability and have already demonstrated this in their spending: In the absence of cooperation from Apple, UltraViolet must surpass what is already available from competitors … in order to deliver the results such a consortium deserves.”

The absence of Disney from DECE is less disconcerting, Barton suggested, if only because the other major studios are on board with the service.

Currently Warner Home Video’s fourth-quarter disc releases of Horrible Bosses (Oct. 11) and Green Lantern (Oct. 14) are in line to be the first to include UltraViolet.

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