Amazon in Talks to Launch UltraViolet As Online Digital Film Library

In an effort to jump start film and TV shows, Hollywood studios may have Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) return to UltraViolet, their online system.

Studios such as Sony Corp. (NYSE:SNE) and Time Warner Inc.’s (NYSE:TWX) Warner Bros. are in talks with Amazon to launch the shared storage method for keeping and viewing films on products including the Kindle Fire tablet and Blu-ray players, according to Bloomberg.

Amazon had briefly been an UltraViolet group member in January via its purchase of U.K.-based Lovefilm, but they soon left.

A possible return came to light after Anthony Bay, a former Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) manager, joined Amazon. He has movie industry ties and will work on the company’s digital media strategy.

UltraViolet

With DVD sales declining from competition by cheap rental outfits such as Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Coinstar Inc.’s (NASDAQ:CSTR) Redbox outlets, the studios think UltraViolet could be an answer. This enables consumers to purchase videos from retailers, keep them online and then enjoy them on any device.

If Amazon does these sales, its competitors may do the same.

UltraViolet has been challenged in its two-month tenure and with Amazon’s commitment, it could increase its adoption. Consumers have struggled with registering and accessing the digital copies of movies they’ve bought from Oldfield.

Retailers

The company has the backing of retailers, entertainment and technology companies from the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem. Its members include News Corp.’s (NASDAQ:NWSA) Fox Entertainment, Comcast Corp.’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBC Universal and Viacom Inc.’s (NYSE:VIAB) Paramount Pictures.

UltraViolet currently has the retailers Best Buy Co. (NYSE:BBY), owner of the CinemaNow website, and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT) in their group, but neither website is currently using the system.

Meanwhile, Amazon is up and running with customers purchasing and storing movies on its site. They are looking at a plan to enable consumers to pay between 99 cents to $1.49 to convert their own DVDs or Blu-ray discs into a digital copy stored online, according to Bloomberg.

The UltraViolet group is projected to announce this 0.99-cent offer in January. It is also looking to expand its retailers.

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