M+E Daily

Disney Developing ‘Keychest’ For Digital Content Access

Disney reportedly plans to unveil a new technology that would provide consumers with digital access to movies and other video content on their TVs, computers, and portable devices, without having to own DVDs or store copies of the film on their hard drives.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Disney’s “Keychest” platform would enable consumers to pay for permanent access to a movie or TV show via whichever device they chose. The studio, which plans to announce the technology in November, has reportedly been demonstrating Keychest to other studios and technology companies in hopes of establishing a standard.

The technology follows Disney’s effort to brand its own version of the “Digital Copy” technology that most major studios now offer with Blu-rays and DVDs.

The studio has marketed its “DisneyFile” Digital Copy for a little over a year on select titles. With DisneyFile titles, a purchaser of a Disney Blu-ray or DVD can use a code included in the disc package to transfer an iTunes or Windows Media version of the film onto their computer. The file is also playable on portable devices.

While it would presumably succeed the Digital Copy platform, Keychest would appear to compete with the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) standard that a consortium of studios and technology companies have been working on since last September. DECE — backed by the likes of Best Buy, Comcast, Fox, Microsoft, NBC Universal, Philips, and Sony — would offer a similar access model as Keychest. Disney, along with Apple, has been conspicuously absent from DECE development.

Studios have a long history of supporting different digital standards. Even when they unify under a single technology, conflicting interests persist. For example, while Sony Pictures supports the Digital Copy standard on its Blu-ray and DVD titles, it favors file transfers to PlayStation Portable decks over iPods.

But getting studios to fall in with a single standard is one thing; getting consumers to adopt it is another. To that end, no company has released any data on how many consumers have redeemed Digital Copy codes.