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Disney's Keychest expected before competitors

DIGITAL: Analyst: Service will attract core fans, not everybody

By Jennifer Netherby -- Video Business, 10/27/2009

OCT. 27 | DIGITAL: Walt Disney Co. is likely to launch its Keychest service, to enable consumers to access digital content on a number of different devices, before competing services offer their own versions of a digital content cloud, market research firm In-Stat said in a research note Monday.

Last week, Disney announced Keychest, technology developed by the studio that would allow consumers to buy digital or packaged content and access it later through different digital platforms, such as mobile phones or videogame consoles. Content would be stored on a “digital cloud” so consumers never have to download it but can always access it.

In-Stat principle analyst Gerry Kaufhold predicts Disney will be able to make some money from Keychest fairly quickly, but he noted it’ll take some time for digital content to catch on with consumers. And even then, some consumers will stick with packaged media.

“Not everybody wants to do this,” Kaufhold said. “Disney has a dedicated group of fans; they’ll be able to get some percent of the Disney fan base to use it because it provides portability of their content and permanence of their content. For Disney, it’ll work, and if it works for Disney, there’ll be others trying it out too.”

He said it’s possible Disney will get its Keychest technology off the ground before the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem — a consortium that includes every major studio except Disney, and such major companies as Sony Computer, Microsoft, Intel, Comcast and Best Buy — introduces its own open system to allow digital access to content across platforms.

Kaufhold said Keychest is part of a larger trend by content holders to keep their content under their direct control. He expects Disney will eventually create a content exchange for distributing digital content securely to various service providers under rules the studio establishes.


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