Dreamworks Does Disc-To-Digital [sigh]
Yoinked from Engadget
Dreamworks has been all over the media in the last couple of days as a result of their announcement that they have joined Walmart’s new VUDU Disc-To-Digital service. The gist of this is that if you own a DVD or Blu-Ray disc, you can bring it in to Walmart, and, for the low low fee of $2 American, they will convert it into a digital copy to be stored “in the cloud”.
So beyond the hilarity of paying someone $2/disc to rip your movies for you, there’s also the fact that the content itself will be accessible via the Ultraviolet service. If you haven’t used it, you are not alone, but it’s basically Hollywood’s attempt to stop file-sharing by giving people the ability to watch their movies on devices other than a TV [gasp].
So why would Dreamworks agree to be part of something that is quite frankly much inferior to your local Pirate Bay? They aren’t going to gain any new customers; the service is only for those who already own the DVD, and it’s not really applicable to new content either, as those discs already come with an Ultraviolet version included.
My guess is that Dreamworks simply sees it as a zero-sum opportunity where they don’t stand to gain or lose anything significant but may well get a cut or fee from Walmart for participating in return for putting out a press release stating as much. In any case, they can at least extract a bit more value from the typical Walmart customer and curry favour with the old boys in Hollywood.
As far as their overall digital strategy seems to be going, this seems to be more of a sideshow to the main event. If anything, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s comments seem particularly bland:
We are thrilled to make DreamWorks Animation’s current library of films available as part of [Walmart’s] disc-to-digital service, which we view as a positive step forward for the industry and for consumers.
So let’s give Jeffrey a golf clap for the effort and lip-service involved in this particular venture and offer continued quiet encouragement in everything else the studio is doing to move to digital.