How many times have you bought a DVD that promises a “Digital Copy,” only to find yourself confounded by the specific rules for obtaining that copy? Chances are, you’ve dealt with everything from finding the logins for a slew of websites to file formats that don’t even work with your systems. The early days of digital bundling weren’t pretty, and now Disney is seeking to shift towards something more user-friendly with its new Disney Digital Copy Plus program.
The basis of the new program is incredibly simple: Once you’ve bought the disc, you can download a digital version in the format/from the provider of your choice – as long as said provider is either iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, or Vudu. All the disc owner will have to do is go to the website to confirm their purchase and choose which format they’d like their digital video in.
According to a Disney spokesperson, the new program “allows for the capability to redeem the digital version of your movie on any connected device. You no longer have to wait until you get home to insert a disc into your computer.” Ultimately, according to Disney, the plan is to slowly introduce the concept of accessing content digitally without the need for a physical object in order to do so, and in the process introduce the concept of purely digital media, held in the cloud, to its customers. One would assume that this shouldn’t be an entirely new concept to anyone already using either iTunes or Amazon Instant Video, but there may be some unspoken assumption since Disney’s core audience isn’t exactly made up of traditionally digital consumers.
The new format is similar to Ultraviolet, the digital rights management system backed by studios including Warner Bros, Sony, Fox, Universal and Paramount. That format allows customers to access digital content held in the cloud across multiple devices once activated using the purchased disc, and is considered to be as close to a cross-platform, cross-studio solution in the current environment. Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, many expected Disney to sign onto the Ultraviolet platform itself.
Given that Disney effectively owns the geek audience through its ownership of Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios, it’ll be interesting to see the level of uptake of the new Digital Copy Plus program. Whereas earlier efforts to go it alone in this manner have been met with some disinterest, the Venn diagram of early adopters and fans of Avengers-related movies, Pixar animation, and Star Wars suggests that tastemakers may find themselves compelled to investigate this new format if they want both digital and analog versions of their favorite movies.
The program launches with the June 11 release of Oz The Great and Powerful on disc.