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UltraViolet Licensing Begins

13 Jul, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, or DECE, July 13 launched its UltraViolet licensing program for content, technology and service providers, keeping to a schedule that should see consumers buying Blu-ray Discs and other products with UltraViolet rights this fall.

“This is [a] major pivot point for us,” said Mark Teitell, GM of DECE, calling UltraViolet “digital copy on steroids.” “We really think UltraViolet is going to be successful, though it won’t happen all at once. It will develop over time.”

The announcement marks the final, pre-retail step for the buy-once, play-anywhere digital storage platform. Six studios — Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. — will include UltraViolet with discs and through digital online retailers, and consumers using UltraViolet can create an account for up to six members who can access their cloud-based content acquired via studios, participating retailers and streaming providers. Up to a dozen consumer electronics devices can be registered to share UltraViolet-enabled content.

“Consumers are looking for a better value proposition to own and collect digital movies and TV shows — a proposition that provides downloads, streaming and physical copy viewing options which are accessible on multiple platforms,” Teitell said. “The initiation of UltraViolet’s business-to-business licensing program represents another key step in the development and roll-out of this new ecosystem designed to respond to this consumer demand.

Teitell said he expects UltraViolet to show up first on both discs and electronic sellthrough offerings like Vudu, though he said he thinks disc will be what drives UltraViolet’s success.

“Improving the electronic sellthrough experience is a big part, but the disc market is so big in today’s world — look at the raw numbers — there are going to be more people shopping for disc-based product [exposed to UltraViolet],” he said.

UltraViolet licensees will be able to market content, services and products with the UltraViolet name and logo, implement technical specifications, and utilize a centralized digital rights locker system where consumers’ can manage their UltraViolet content. More information on licensing can be found at UVVU.com.

Initial licensees are currently beta testing the system, DECE announced.

So far this year DECE has added eight new member companies (AMD, Blockbuster, Walmart’s VUDU, NVIDIA, CyberLink, PacketVideo, SeaChange and Roadshow) bringing its total to more than 70, covering 10 countries and representing entertainment, software, hardware, retail, digital delivery and infrastructure.

Timothy Dodd, VP and GM of Neustar Media, which built the cloud-based infrastructure for Ultraviolet, said the digital rights locker “provides a seamless technology infrastructure for content companies, retailers and others who recognize the need to create a digital media library and locker service for consumers to access their digital content from the cloud.”

Terry Cudmore, analyst with research firm Yankee Group, added: “Consumers want all types of content available on a variety of devices, and they want to be able to access that content at any time, in any location. Content providers need to make such capabilities a reality in order to keep their consumers happy.

“Partnering with a third-party cloud service can help provide the easiest and most convenient customer experience.”

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