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UltraViolet Launching in Germany, France in the Fall

16 Apr, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel, Chris Tribbey

Studio-backed cloud-based content locker set to expand beyond North America and the U.K.

UltraViolet, the studio-backed cloud-based storage locker designed to jumpstart physical and digital media sellthrough, is set to launch functionality in Germany and France beginning Sept. 30.

First announced by Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes during a Feb. 27 fiscal call, the rollout date into Germany and France was confirmed April 16 by Mark Teitell, GM and executive director, Digital Entertainment Content System (DECE), during a presentation at the PEVE Entertainment 2013 confab in London.

Separate UV launches into Luxembourg, Holland and Belgium are slated as well although Teitell did not disclose when they might occur.

Meanwhile, Teitell did say DECE’s year-end goal is to double the current 500,000 registered UltraViolet accounts in the U.K. There are about 12 million registered accounts in North America and the U.K.

Indeed, Michael Comish, CEO of Tesco Digital Entertainment, said it was timing issues that heretofore had prevented the British retail giant from embracing UltraViolet.

“At the moment Tesco is a massive physical retailer [of entertainment] and a smaller digital one. I expect that to switch around and we will do everything in line with our customers desires,” said Comish, according to The Hollywood Reporter, which attended the event.

Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand will see their first UltraViolet-enabled title May 1 when Warner releases The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on DVD and as Blu-ray Disc and 3D Blu-ray combo packs.

Warner-owned Flixster will be the main portal for UltraViolet in New Zealand and Australia to start, a studio spokesman confirmed. Australian DVD retailer EzyDVD is also planning to be an UltraViolet portal.

“UltraViolet is a fantastic consumer proposition and a key initiative for us moving forward,” said Roger Clarke, managing director and GM of Australia and New Zealand for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the perfect title to be launching with in Australia and New Zealand and we are already looking ahead to adding UltraViolet to all our major releases this year.”

Warner plans on more UltraViolet-enabled releases in those countries this year.

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