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Warner Preps First Ultraviolet Release

10 Oct, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

With UltraViolet set to launch Oct. 11 with the Warner Home Video release of Horrible Bosses, Justin Herz is anxious to see what consumers think, and how many kick the tires on the digital content locker storage service.

“We think this is an important way of making content ownership an attractive option again,” the SVP at Warner Bros. Digital Distribution said Oct. 9 while showing a demo of the service. “UltraViolet is about freedom; it’s about access.”

After setting up an account at UVVU.com, owners of the Blu-ray Disc of the film will have a code to access Horrible Bosses on any device that can handle Flixster, the movie site Warner acquired in May. In just three steps, you can start playing the film on an Android phone, an Apple product or your PC.

“It has to be simple if we want the consumer to accept it,” Herz said. “Once you’re done, you now own Horrible Bosses forever, and can watch it most everywhere.”

UltraViolet-optimized media player applications are expected to be developed in early 2012, with consumer rollout depending on retailer plans, according to Mark Teitell, GM and executive director for the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, or DECE, the 70-plus-member, cross-industry consortium responsible for UltraViolet.

“These apps will give consumers the flexibility to enjoy downloads that can be shared directly among different brands of apps [or] devices through UltraViolet’s standardized Common File Format and via software updates to existing PCs, game consoles and smartphones, as well as through new devices for sale,” Teitell added.

Warner TV ads for Horrible Bosses contain substantial references to UltraViolet, and Blu-ray packaging promotes the service. Studio advertising support could be crucial to gaining consumer acceptance, Teitell said.

“We expect Hollywood studios and retailers to make UltraViolet and the rights [or] benefits it offers to consumers a part of their marketing plans,” he said.

Teitell said the entire DECE consortium, especially it’s five major studio members, is anxious to see how Tuesday’s rollout progresses.

“Like any first-generation service, we anticipate rapidly learning from initial users’ experience, and moving to evolve the UltraViolet experience as we go forward,” Teitell said. “By delivering a strong consumer value proposition and a significant upgrade to enjoy their favorite entertainment, we believe UltraViolet will have a growing and positive impact.”

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