Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Does The UltraViolet - Amazon Deal Offer?

There are multiple reports that Amazon is growing its cloud offerings with a deal to sell UltraViolet movies. Some sources believe the deal is tied to one of the UV partners, Warner Brothers, and no details of the agreement have been released. "Analyst Jan Dawson of Ovum said the biggest challenge to UltraViolet comes from the top competitors in online retail for entertainment: Apple and Amazon. Each of them maintains its own online 'lockers' for purchases. If Amazon really commits to UltraViolet, that would be a 'total game changer,' Dawson said."

So is Amazon considering converting its cloud to the UltraViolet solution or simply offering its customers more choices? While Amazon is know to sell both physical DVDs and downloads, will the new UV deal require a disc still be purchased or will UV adapt to enable a download only model? Clearly the studios got behind UltraViolet in an attempt to extend the product life of the physical DVD. It is hard to imagine that they will get off that requirement too quickly. If a digital only solution is part of the Amazon UltraViolet deal, then that represents a major strategic shift.

Would Apple ever agree to such a deal? Most likely not. Apple likes to work in its own closed platform. Studios would have to agree to an Apple iTune cloud model, one without the requirement of a physical DVD purchase. And Apple is not one to follow along.

So is the Amazon Ultraviolet deal a game changer? Amazon definitely gives the movement credibility. It likely enables an Amazon cloud consumer to have access to these films from their Amazon account. At the same time there are only a handful of titles available and consumers could just as easily buy them from the Amazon website or pick up from Target or Walmart and access through a Flixter account and through connected devices. We will definitely wait for more news to learn more what this new partnership means for Amazon and the UltraViolet movement.

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