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As UltraViolet Fades, Studios Ponder Options

In hindsight, it was probably an impossible task: Getting major Hollywood studios, technology companies and retailers to agree on a way to sell movies that consumers could watch on lots of devices. And three years after just such an initiative launched, a reaction to the dominance of Apple’s iTunes, its time may be running out.

Known as UltraViolet, the venture is backed by most of the major studios but has so far failed to persuade big digital retailers to work with it. As a result, entertainment executives say they no longer see UltraViolet as the only path to a system where consumers can buy movies from any outlet and play them on any device. Studios backing Ultraviolet have had discussions about joining forces with Walt Disney, the one major studio which stayed out of Ultraviolet and created a rival service called Disney Movies Anywhere.

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The studios “need a competitive landscape of digital retailers and the only way to get that is through interoperability.”