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Report: Amazon in Talks to Support UltraViolet

10 Oct, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Amazon is reportedly in talks with three major studios about selling digital movies with UltraViolet functionality — the cloud-based system backed by all the major Hollywood studios except Disney.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group are in talks with Amazon to offer UV-compatible digital titles that could be accessed on any UV-compatible media device, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

Currently, digital movies purchased on Amazon are stored in the e-commerce behemoth’s proprietary cloud-based platform. Amazon already sells major studio packaged-media releases with UltraViolet functionality. 

But with Hollywood pushing higher-margin digital movie sales, having Amazon on board would give a significant boost to electronic sellthrough and give added competition to Apple iTunes, which does not offer UV-compatible titles.

With studios offering some title via electronic sellthrough weeks ahead of their disc availability, digital sales increased 37% in the first half of 2014 to $671 million, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Notably, Universal parent Comcast last year launched the cable industry’s first digital movie store through its Xfinity platform. The launch was seen as a huge boost to electronic sellthrough sales despite the fact the platform also does not offer UV-compatible titles.

Representatives from the studios and Amazon were not immediately available for comment.

A representative from the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), which oversees UltraViolet, declined comment but did say registered UV user accounts are approaching 20 million.

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