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Studios Joining 'Disney Movies Anywhere' Platform?

14 Dec, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Move could realize Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s quest for unified cloud-based platform

Disney is reportedly asking other major studios to join its Disney Movies Anywhere digital transaction service — in effect abandoning the UltraViolet cloud-based storage platform.

Cloud-based storage and access of movies and TV shows acquired online and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc began with the 2011 rollout of UltraViolet (currently with more than 21 million registered users) and backed by all major studios — except Disney.

Disney Movies Anywhere uses separate so-called KeyChest technology that also allows consumers to access digital files of movies acquired from third-party sites such as Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes and Vudu, among others.

“Our commitment with Disney Movies Anywhere has always been to grow digital ownership and improve the value and utility of digital purchases, and we’ve been thrilled with how DMA has been received,” Disney said in a statement as reported by Bloomberg, which cited sources regarding unification talks.

Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara has long lamented the industry digital divide with Disney, telling an investor group nearly two years ago it was his mission to end it.

“It would be my goal to bridge [UltraViolet] with what Disney is doing, so the consumer doesn’t have to guess is that a Disney movie, or is that a Fox, Sony, Paramount, Universal or Warner Bros. movie?” Tsujihara told the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom confab in San Francisco.

The amalgamation of platforms underscores Warner’s strategy of upping focus on digital distribution of content in home entertainment as a means of growing margins. Tsujihara contends digital sales don’t have to surpass physical. Even at a 50/50 split, digital’s higher margins would more than offset physical while impacting the bottom line.

“To be more profitable, we don’t need [consumer spending on home video] to grow.”

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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