Market Insight

Disney replaces digital copy with new digital locker


Walt Disney is to launch a new digital locker service called Digital Copy Plus with the US and Canada release of Oz the Great and Powerful on DVD, Blu-ray Disc (BD) and Blu-ray Disc 3D (BD3D) in June 2013. Allowing consumers to purchase and stream Disney titles across multiple devices via online providers iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and Vudu, the studio's new digital locker also includes titles released by Disney affiliate companies including Pixar, Marvel, Touchstone and DreamWorks Pictures. Digital Copy Plus will effectively replace the Digital Copy format that has up until now been bundled with Disney new releases on DVD, BD and BD3D. Digital Copy Plus, just like Disney's previous digital locker service Keychest, remains incompatible with Ultraviolet, the digital locker initiative managed by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) and backed by all other major studios.

 

The introduction of Digital Copy Plus signifies a move away from Disney's earlier digital locker initiative, Keychest, which was introduced in 2010. While the latter has passed largely unnoticed by consumers, the emergence of Ultraviolet and the format's broad studio support have prompted Disney to re-address the issue of cloud storage. 

Disney has been noted for leveraging its strong catalogue of family focused animation titles; adopting varying availability and windowing strategies to create second release windows long after a titles' initial release, unique amongst all the Hollywood studios. This has been cited as one of the main reason why Disney has yet to join the list of DECE members and sign up for the Ultraviolet initiative. Nevertheless, the studio recognises the need to meet shifting consumption habits and the expectation of flexible viewing, adhering to its 'Movies Anywhere' initiative. Where playback of content via Keychest was limited by Disney's partnership with Apple, Digital Copy Plus will allow consumers to watch content through multiple cloud providers over a range of devices including Android tablets, gaming consoles and iOS devices, much like with Ultraviolet. In turn, the transition to Digital Copy Plus looks set to replace Digital Copy, the format currently bundled with many Disney titles on DVD and BD. Other major studios have adopted a similar strategy - as of May 2013 Fox began to replace Digital Copy on its content with the UV-enabled Digital HD brand, as part of its early digital release strategy.