M+E Daily

Opinion: Where’s UV’s guy in the turtle neck (or hoodie)?

I just came off of a day-long UltraViolet download. Eight hours of data and details about the next big Hollywood format. There were 250 of some of the smartest folks in home entertainment, all counting that UV will once again make home entertainment the cash engine that drives the Hollywood machine.

And I get it. And I even think it has a shot. The vision that Mitch Singer outlined five years ago in an ESCA conference of a DVD-like experience for digital is finally coming to pass — and it still makes sense. Most importantly, there is the rumbling of excitement again. There is hope. There are studios, retailers, service providers, and device manufacturers all working in lockstep with a common cause. And there are plenty of smart marketers from the studios with a keen vision of what needs to happen next.

What’s missing is the guy in the turtle neck. That singular visionary. Some guy (and that guy may very well be a gal) who could stand up on stage at yesterday’s first UltraViolet Academy and spell out the vision, enchant and dazzle, and make everyone into a believer — Silicon Valley start-up style.

UltraViolet does not even have its Warren Leiberfarb (who sat quietly in the back of the room all day btw at the Academy).

UltraViolet has to be sold to the consumer as the next great start-up, born in a garage in Burbank by a couple of stoned computer geeks down from Redwood City who convinced the great studios that they had the coolest digital delivery system ever invented. They’re not doing it for the books (although the billions will come); they’re in it for the buzz of creating the ultimate movie-everywhere experience. The experience is not brought to you by Bewkes, Murdoch, Iger, and company — instead it’s the brainchild of a guy with such a love of movies, such an instinctive understanding of the user experience, and such a magical, get-it-done compulsion.

UltraViolet needs its inventor, its face. It won’t sell in the public psyche as the work of a committee of former disc makers looking to save their industry from decline. It needs to come from inspiration, not from desperation.

Give me that guy/gal in the turtle neck espousing the UV revolution, and everything else will fall into place. That guy/gal can talk our way around the inevitable landmines that we’re going to encounter during the roll out, give a firm but kind face to the consumer complaints and disappointments that will inevitably occur, all the while telling a simple, easy to understand story in the most dramatic of ways.

Find me UltraViolet’s guy/gal in the turtle neck (or even a hoodie) and this could actually work.