Monday, March 8, 2010

Is Disney Leading the Way with Digital Content?

I received an email from Disney Movie Rewards last week that shows an interesting feature that Disney is trying out. When you purchase certain Blu-Ray discs from Disney and enter the Movie Reward code onto the site you suddenly have the opportunity to watch the movies streaming online.

Here is how the page looks that shows the movies that are available to watch online after you put in the code. (The Hannah Montana movies is my daughters, I swear!) All you have to do from here is click on the watch now button.

Depending on the download speed you have, the movie starts within a few seconds. The quality of the stream is adjusted to meet the download speed you have available. You can also watch the stream full screen.

While this is a great feature that Disney has come up with, think about the implications. Disney is a huge media company that creates a lot of content. This feature may change copyright as we know it. We already know that when we buy a disc or download a movie we don't really own it, we simply own the right to view it. Now Disney has begun to give us a different license where we can purchase the physical media and have the rights to watch the digital content that is stored on the cloud. Is this the opening move in an all online presence for Disney where content will only stored and accessed on the cloud? Will the rights to the media be transferable after death? (Can you see the massive library of content that will be available to our great-grandchildren?)

I like the idea of my content being online, I also like the idea of having the content in my hand. Are we seeing the beginning of the end for all physical forms of content? There are a lot of implications to this and it definitely bears keeping an eye on.

One last thing, I am curious if this is available outside of the United States?


NZWaikato said...

My guess is this is where digital content is heading, as I imagine eventually everything will be streamed online, and that your computer will effectively be your tv (I have a mate who does as much now and streams from Hong Kong special interest material, any broadcasts that he's missed, PPV etc). Is is avaiable outside the USA? No, not according to the small print when I log onto the main Disnyey site, and its prohibited in Quebec for some reason!

Allison Rogers said...

Disney has always been on the cutting edge of technology. At the beginning of the semester, in EDM 310, I wrote a short blog entry on Randy Paush, who worked with Disney building the Aladdin virtual Reality Project back in the 90's. I do believe that this is the beginning of the end for hard data. We have been moving away from hard copies for a while now. I too wonder what this means for copyright laws. I suppose we will have to just wait and see.