The industry divide between UltraViolet and Disney Movies Anywhere could be ending. But instead of merging cloud-based storage platforms, UltraViolet backers 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are joining Disney’s KeyChest storage platform, according to Bloomberg. A formal announcement is pending.
Lionsgate is said to be interested, while financial disagreements are keeping Paramount Pictures on the sidelines, according to the report. No word about Sony Pictures.
Disney Movies Anywhere, launched in 2014, enables consumers to peruse branded digital movies online and purchased them from authenticated platforms iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Google Play, Microsoft and Fios by Verizon.
UltraViolet, with more than 20 million registered accounts, includes Fandango Now, Vudu, Kaleidescape, Fios, Sony Pictures, and Paramount.
It remains to be seen what role, if any, Warner CEO Kevin Tsujihara played in the transfer. Two years ago, Tsujihara said Disney’s separation from the rest of the industry was problematic to consumers and the growth of electronic sellthrough.
“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 an investor group in San Francisco.
The executive said Disney and other studios could maintain separate sellthrough platforms while combining cloud-based functionality on the backend. He said combining user data between UltraViolet and Disney would help the industry grow digital content sales.
“To be more profitable, we don’t need consumer spending [on discs] to grow,” Tsujihara said at the time.
Erik Gruenwedel is a senior editor at Home Media Magazine.