Disney hopes KeyChest will push online video sales

Disney unveiled its KeyChest technology this week, promising to make distribution of online content platform agnostic - eventually - for consumers. KeyChest allows consumers to purchase content for download and watch it on a variety of devices.

Disney said it eventually hopes that KeyChest will allow users to buy content from virtually any legal source and play it anywhere on any screen they want, including PCs and phones. KeyChest will even allow a movie copied from a DVD to a PC to be viewed on other devices.

The company said it's still developing partnerships with everyone, from studios to cable companies, and that it plans to launch KeyChest by the end of the year.

"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. "If it's Disney only, there really isn't much value here," she said.

A third party will administer the authentication process, Disney said.

But, as the Los Angeles Times points out, even with more content providers involved, a fly in the ointment may be that KeyChest is designed to work only with content that's purchased, not rented. The Times also notes that pricing for KeyChest will be determined by the companies that choose to use it, setting up potential conflicts over issues like streaming rights and fees across service providers.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this L.A. Times blog

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