Cloud movie locker service UltraViolet will officially shut down on July 31, 2019. The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) announced the closure late last night, and will begin informing users of the service's end throughout today (via Variety).
Between January 31 and July 31, 2019, users will be able to keep accessing their UltraViolet Library, purchase new movies, and redeem digital codes. After the shutdown date, all UltraViolet Libraries will automatically close, but the company has detailed a way that users will be able to continue accessing their content.
To do this, UltraViolet is advising users to log into their accounts and verify that they have another retailer linked to their UltraViolet Library, which will allow them to watch their movies and TV shows on another platform after July 31. Retailers include Fandango Now, VUDU, Kaleidescape, Paramount Movies, and Verizon Fios.
The company implores that users do not unlink or close their UltraViolet Library, because UltraViolet and other retailers will continue working together to "maximize your continued access to movies and TV shows" after the shutdown. The company says that "in the majority of cases," movies and TV shows will remain accessible at previously-linked retailers after July 31.
Users will also be able to continue to make online purchases and redeem digital codes, but these will only be available through other retailers and will not be added to an UltraViolet Library.
DECE president Wendy Aylsworth told Variety in an exclusive interview this week that the decision to discontinue Ultraviolet was a response to the evolution of the market for online entertainment. “The marketplace for collecting entertainment content was very small when Ultraviolet started,” she said. “It was siloed into walled gardens at the time.”
UltraViolet first launched in 2011 and allowed customers to redeem digital versions of films found in their physical Blu-ray packaging. As of today, UltraViolet has more than 30 million users who have stored more than 300 million movies and TV shows in their cloud libraries.
UltraViolet had support of every major Hollywood studio except Disney, and when Disney expanded Movies Anywhere to other retailers in late 2017, some companies associated with UltraViolet switched over to Movies Anywhere. In 2018, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Lionsgate stopped distributing their new releases with UltraViolet support in favor of Movies Anywhere.
However, according to DECE president Wendy Aylsworth, the decision to end UltraViolet "doesn't really have anything to do with Movies Anywhere." Ultimately, the future of the entire DECE has yet to be decided, but VUDU vice president Scott Blanksteen ensured users that they will be able to continue to access VUDU as normal even after UltraViolet's shutdown, because VUDU "will not be impacted by the discontinuation of the UltraViolet platform."
Since its launch eight years ago, Apple never allowed direct iTunes support or sync with UltraViolet Libraries. When customers purchased Blu-rays or DVDs with digital codes, they would sometimes be given the option of choosing an iTunes-only digital code, or one from UltraViolet.