UltraViolet: A Lost Opportunity

I, like millions of registered UltraViolet users, received the Jan. 31 email informing me that the digital content storage locker is shuttering July 31.

My reaction: Indifference.

I, like possibly millions of other UV users, had forgotten I was even registered to the platform launched in 2011 by studios seeking to enhance ownership of packaged media in a digital era transformed by SVOD and Netflix.

Indeed, the email was the FIRST communication I ever received from the platform boasting 30 million registered users — a captive audience larger than any over-the-top video platform not named Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

The missed advertising/marketing opportunities upon a segment of active movie consumers larger than the combined Comcast Cable, Sky, AT&T U-verse and Verizon Fios Video subscriber base should be a business school case study.

Thirty million registered consumers should have been a field day for marketers considering YouTube begins monetizing third-party videos with just 1,000 subscribers — users who follow a video series for free.

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As a stack of UV digital activation movie registration cards attest, actually engaging in UV was challenging. Each studio for awhile required the laborious process of registering titles to a proprietary platform.

I remember a friend asking me the purpose of the UV card enclosed with the Blu-ray Disc case.

When I tried to explain, she rolled her eyes.

“You lost me,” she said.

That sentiment, in a nutshell, should be on UV’s gravestone.

UltraViolet, from the start, was hampered by Disney’s refusal to participate. The media giant opting instead to roll out a competing platform (Disney Movies Anywhere) that now has been embraced by Hollywood studios not named Paramount and Lionsgate, and rebranded Movies Anywhere.

Movies Anywhere claims a user base of 6 million – 20% the size of UV – and a rosy future. I’m looking forward to my first email.