UltraViolet, a cloud movie locker set up with major movie studios, is shutting down in July. Customers will soon lose their digital library of films and TV shows unless they link them to a retailer. Once hailed as Hollywood’s best bet to get consumers hooked on digital movies, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) is now informing users that it plans to close up shop on July 31, 2019.
UltraViolet has been around since 2011, offering a cloud locker for digital movies generally given away as part of a DVD, Blu-ray or, in more recently, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases. The cloud movie locker currently has over 30 million users who store over 300 million movies and TV shows on the service. However, in the last couple of years, many retailers have withdrawn support. Rakuten and TalkTalk TV both stopped supporting UltraViolet digital lockers back in 2018. Flixster also closed in the United States around the same time, after they were acquired by Fandango in 2010.
In an interview with Variety, DECE president Wendy Aylsworth said that the decision to discontinue UltraViolet was in response to developments in the online entertainment market. DECE also suggest that users not delete their movie collections. Instead, make sure their libraries are connected to a retailer to allow for continued access going forward. Those retailers include Fandango Now, Verizon Fios, Vudu, Kaleidescape, Paramount, and Sony Pictures. Aylsworth further emphasized that the closure isn't a response to Movies Anywhere, saying the decision "doesn't really have anything to do with [it]".
In late 2017, Disney relaunched its cloud locker service as Movies Anywhere, causing some of the studios previously associated with UltraViolet to pull out of their relationship with the soon-to-be obsolete service. In 2018, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Lionsgate stopped distributing their new releases as UltraViolet titles as well. Movies Anywhere is now being supported by most major studios and retailers, positioning Disney as a formidable force in the digital film service field. Not only did Disney offer broad studio support, it also be partnered with major digital retailers like iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. UltraViolet was never able to connect with such major retailers.
Honestly, It's not surprising that UltraViolet is closing up shop after several years of studios and partners pulling out. Those codes often found inside the copies made digital versions of movies a new mainstay for many consumers. With Disney's acquisition of Fox being finalized in June, Disney+ is posing to become a juggernaut of the digital streaming sector. This push towards streaming services has really put cloud lockers and digital codes out of fashion.
UltraViolet sent users an email recently with the subject "Important Account Notice: UltraViolet is Closing" informing them of the specifics. Users can expect additional information from UltraViolet over the coming months, as some retailers may server ties with UltraViolet before that July 31 shut down. For now, users can check out a FAQ on the myvue website.