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UltraViolet Heads to Canada, Ireland, Australia

3 Oct, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey

LOS ANGELES — Andres Alvarez, director of content relations for Dolby Labs, looks at UltraViolet and thinks “DVD.”

The incredible success DVD enjoyed with consumers came about because it delivers a consistent, quality experience across retailers and players, and is a product consumers trust, he said, speaking at the Entertainment Merchants Association’s Digital Media Pipeline event.

“That’s established, and with UltraViolet the minimum bar is that DVD experience, and I think we’ll exceed that and build off it,” Alvarez said.

Nearly a year to the day since Warner Home Video debuted UltraViolet with Horrible Bosses, there are now more than 7,200 UltraViolet-enabled titles, accessible by more than 5 million registered UltraViolet accounts.

The service is live in the United States and United Kingdom, with a Canadian launch planned by the end of the year, and during the first quarter of 2013, UltraViolet will start popping up in Ireland, Australia and other countries, if all goes according to plan.

Mark Teitell, GM and executive director for the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the 80-member, cross-industry consortium responsible for UltraViolet, said the service is taking care of all consumer desires when it comes to content: they can watch it anywhere, any time, with any device; don’t have to fear losing their content; the content isn’t locked into one service or application; and the content is easily shared.

He also predicted that more retailers would follow Walmart’s lead with its disc-to-digital UltraViolet program through Vudu. That’s good news for studios hoping UltraViolet extends the concept of ownership with consumers.

“We really want to drive ownership transactions,” said Matthew Hanna, VP of digital licensing for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. “And [UltraViolet] is a great compliment, enhancing the physical product. I think UltraViolet really hits home with that ownership experience, and the more discs that get out in stores, the more familiarity.”

Teitell said he’s “optimistic” that Disney — the one major studio not signed on with UltraViolet — would join “not too long from now, and Hanna pointed out that DEG: The Digital Entertainment group is taking the lead on a marketing the service.

Tom Adams, director and principal analyst of U.S. media for IHS Screen Digest, said getting a positive message out about the service is paramount for its success.

“It’s going to take disregarding the skeptics, treating it like a new format, and marketing it that way,” he said.

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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