Disney has unveiled plans for its online storage service, called ‘Keychest’, that will give users access to the studio’s movies and TV shows online, offering an alternative to DVDs and Blu-rays. Using Keychest, consumers would purchase access rights to a film or TV show, rather than have physical ownership of material on a disc.
Disney hopes the technology will be deployed before the end of 2010. KeyChest will let consumers buy films or television shows from various distributors, store them on remote servers, and play them on multiple platforms ranging from TVs to computers and phones. Disney said it plans to roll-out KeyChest for both the U.S. and the international market, and that it will soon announce partners who will participate in the program.
Disney said negotiations with content distributors, cable companies and telecommunications services have been ongoing for several months.
The company also said a third-party company will operate KeyChest, and that it expects other studios to make their content available through the authenticating technology Disney has developed.
The company said Keychest is not intended as a Disney-only venture.
“The idea is to have all the movies consumers want to buy available in this way,” said Kelly Summers, vice president of digital distribution at Disney, on Tuesday in a briefing about KeyChest. “If it’s Disney only, there really isn’t much value here,” she said.
Summers stressed that KeyChest will not be a service that consumers access directly.
Rather, Disney envisions KeyChest as a program that retailers can tap into to verify that consumers have already purchased the right to access a movie, and then make that movie available to the consumer across different devices.
The move comes as the entertainment industry looks to boost revenues amid falling DVD sales, which have dropped up to a quarter at some studios.
Time Warner has been exploring a similar concept, which it has dubbed TV Everywhere; this also involves users paying a subscription to view its content on different devices.