UltraViolet (UV) – the studio-backed common file format and digital rights authentication system – has achieved a milestone of 800,000 household accounts in the US, according to the IHS Screen Digest US Video Market Intelligence Service from information and analysis provider IHS.
The UV initiative has made rapid progress since the first UV-enabled DVD and Blu-ray Discs (BD) were sold in October. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) UV consortium disclosed that 750,000 US accounts had been established. Since then, the number of UV accounts has expanded by another 50,000, IHS Screen Digest believes. Furthermore, for each account established, consumers have redeemed digital rights to 1.25 titles, meaning US consumers now have added more than one million films to their digital film collections via UV-enabled discs.
“One million may not sound like much compared to the 504 million movie discs sold in 2011,” noted Tom Adams, principal analyst and director, US media, for IHS. “However, we have projected that only 19 million digital film files were sold during the entire year of 2011 by electronic sell-through (EST) vendors like iTunes, Xbox Live and Vudu. This suggests that if UV can continue to gain momentum this year, it could encourage consumers to buy more movies. Movie purchasing represents an important priority for movie studios, which have seen their film sales dwindle in the face of growing physical and digital rentals and streaming services like Netflix.”
According to IHS Screen Digest, the rental business has dramatically outperformed the purchasing segment in recent years, with the number of US digital rentals amounting to more than three times the total for digital purchases in 2011, as presented in the figure below.
Consumers spend more per movie watched when purchasing a film than when renting one, on top of which as much as 80 per cent of consumer movie purchase spending flows through to studio top-line revenue, whether of physical discs or of digital versions. Retailers and distributors keep the majority of rental and subscription spending, rather than passing it back upstream to studios.
The UV ecosystem is designed to allow users to view the content they have purchased – on disc or online – on a growing number of Internet-connected devices, including UV-enabled BD players, TVs and media tablets.
Beyond the large number of accounts achieved in less than four months, the quickening pace of commercial activity around the UV format has heartened studio execs in recent weeks, notes IHS Screen Digest. Recent developments include:
Each of these announcements is a step in addressing one or more of the key challenges facing UV, Adams noted. These challenges include providing living room access, jump-starting consumers’ UV collections by allowing them to put existing disc-based content into the cloud and expanding retailer support for the format.