BVA: 1.2 Million UltraViolet Accounts in the U.K.11 Jun, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Though available since 2011, the cloud-based digital locker has not yet been officially launched to U.K. consumers
There were more than 1.2 million registered UltraViolet accounts at the end of 2013 in the United Kingdom — more than doubling the tally at the end of 2012, according to the British Video Association. The region saw 447 titles released on disc in the year with a digital copy available either via iTunes, Google Play or UltraViolet.
Indeed, the trade group said 233 titles released in the U.K. last year included UV functionality — the industry backed (with the exception of Disney) digital locker platform, according to Cue Entertainment, which cited data from the BVA’s annual home entertainment yearbook.
The surge in registered UV accounts (and digital copy) is due in part to the fact that just 285 titles were released on disc with digital copy in 2012, compared with 142 in 2011 and 77 in 2010.
Meanwhile, a planned March consumer launch of UV in the region was postponed by the industry, according to IHS. UV is currently offered in Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with launches in Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg expected in the first half of the year.
There were 17 million registered UV accounts in the United States at the end of the first quarter.
IHS analyst Thomas Nash said UV registrations in the U.K. give the platform a household penetration rate of around 4%. While not directly comparable, in 2009, some two years after the Blu-ray Disc format first launched in the U.K., there were around 750,000 households with a BD player, representing 2.8% market penetration, according to IHS.
“Despite some early poor user experiences, the digital locker proposition is a future proof concept that should fit well with U.K. movie fans. Yet, for some U.K. consumers, UV remains a convoluted proposition with many unnecessary obstructions, especially in an age where consumers are accustomed to ease of access to their purchased content,” Nash wrote in a March market analysis.
Meanwhile, digital sellthrough generated revenue of £126 million in 2013, which was up 27% from 2012 — a percentage up just 3% from 2011 despite an influx of early digital releases.
IHS said iTunes continues to dominate digital sellthrough in the UK with 85% market penetration, followed by Xbox Video, PlayStation’s Sony Entertainment Network and Google Play.