UltraViolet, the Hollywood-founded digital video locker that could never enlist key constituents including Disney, Apple, Amazon and Google, has finally called it quits.
The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, which launched UltraViolet in 2012, sent out a note to the cloud-based locker’s 30 million users Thursday informing them that it will close on July 31. Users can still access their titles, and redeem codes for new ones, as usual over the next six months.
Once the UltraViolet library is closed, titles redeemed within the individual user libraries of participating online retailers including Vudu, FandangoNow and Flixter, will still be available. But a user who purchased, say for example, Crazy Rich Asians via Vudu on Aug. 1 will no longer be able to also access the title through the FandangoNow app. For that reason, UltraViolet is advising users to redeem their UltraViolet library titles with as many participating retailers as they can before the service shuts down.
UltraViolet was created amid the sunsetting of the DVD/Blu-ray era as a means of rekindling the collection bug among consumers with digital formats. In what was an entirely silo’d transactional business at the time, a movie purchased in Apple’s iTunes Store couldn’t be played via, say, the Vudu app, and vice versa. Or, a movie purchased on Blu-ray couldn’t be downloaded to a digital device, unless the movie was purchased again via digital store.
However, a movie purchased with an UltraViolet redeemable code—whether on disc or digital—could be accessed through any UltraViolet-participating retailer.
All the major Hollywood studios were onboard save for Disney, which instead opted to develop its own locker, Disney Moves Anywhere. Disney relaunched the service in 2017, removing its name from the brand.
With key digital stores that were holdouts for UltraViolet—iTunes, Amazon and Google Play—signed onto Movies Anywhere, key UltraViolet content constituents 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Lionsgate switched sides.
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