Deals illuminate UltraViolet bow

Digital consortium licensing content

UltraViolet is getting one step closer to launch.

The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, a consortium of companies that is building the digital locker, has started offering licenses to content owners, retailers and digital distribution services to be part of the product’s launch this fall.

The move comes after DECE’s 70 members agreed upon technical specifications, in January, that will power the product.

UltraViolet will enable consumers to store digital versions of movies and TV shows they purchase, and access them at any time using any hardware supported by the product.

The difficulty in its development over the past two years has been getting all of DECE’s members to approve a set of specs that will support a universal digital file format, e-commerce process and the antipiracy concerns of every company involved.

Studios and retailers, in particular, are hoping one agreed upon format will encourage consumers to spend more on entertainment and help replace disappearing DVD revenue.

With that complete, UltraViolet’s backers are looking to have as many partners on board as possible to make the biggest splash upon launch and provide consumers with little reason not to at least try out the product.

Becoming an UltraViolet licensee will enable companies to implement technical specs and start marketing UltraViolet’s capabilities and its support of the product by using the UV name and logo. DECE is especially keen on attracting content providers, retailers, streaming services, as well as app and device makers.

“Interest in UltraViolet has been robust and we are excited about the number of companies seeking to play roles in the delivery of UltraViolet to consumers in the coming months,” said Mark Teitell, UltraViolet’s general manager.

DECE’s members include most of the major studios, with the exception of Disney, cabler companies, hardware- and chip-makers, entertainment retailers and digital distribbers, like Netflix. Walmart’s Vudu and Dish Network-owned Blockbuster started backing UltraViolet during the first half of the year. DECE now includes more than 70 members in 10 countries, spanning entertainment, software, hardware, retail, infrastructure and digital delivery.

UltraViolet is expected to launch in the U.K. and Canada next year, sometime after the U.S. bow.

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