When Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2 dropped on DVD, a big part of the advertising campaign was that the fully-loaded version included an UltraViolet Digital Copy. UltraViolet uses the Cloud platform and with popular movies streaming from it, this is becoming many consumers’ first experience with the Cloud. While the idea of the Cloud may seem like a strong one, it has a number of risks to consumers.
The Cloud, as it pertains to media, is a form of online storage where companies produce material and give access to it to paying customers. As a form of online storage, users have access to files without downloading or uploading them. For those who buy the DVD and Blu-Rays that have UltraViolet copies, they access the online storage vault from UltraViolet when they want to watch their movie. The file then streams from the online storage point in the Cloud to your computer, smartphone or other cloud-connected device.
The Cloud is banking on customers not wanting to use up hard drive space for digital copies of their media. Companies using the Cloud see online storage as a way to prevent pirating.
Consumers have many reasons to be wary. Because the online storage of the Cloud requires a connection, Internet security issues are a very real concern for users. Threats to Internet security through viruses may be easier to control with the Cloud, but they are also easier to disseminate. As soon as the Cloud-based version of a file is corrupted, every computer using that file may be infected. To date, Internet security providers have neither illustrated such a problem nor a defense against it. Users who are unsure of their own Internet security measures are wary of online storage like the Cloud.
The vendors using Cloud-based media are also are arguing that the Cloud-based media will not wear or scratch the way traditional DVDs, CDs and Blu-Ray discs do. But Cloud-based vendors are neglecting the basic psychology of ownership. For sure, an online storage vault is a convenient idea, but it leaves consumers without something physical to feel they own. The Cloud-based online storage concept suffers the same defect as the MiniDisc in the area of the psychology of ownership; consumers pay more for something they do not see and cannot feel, making them feel like they overpaid.
Internet security issues aside, Cloud users have every reason to doubt the long-term viability of the scheme. Technology changes fast, and paying more money for a service or company that may not exist in a few years makes consumers less likely to try new technologies. The music store The Wall used to guarantee CDs with their sticker on them for life. Those who still have CDs from The Wall now have a worthless guarantee. Between the Internet security issues and the fact that online storage methods like the Cloud have not been tested in the long-term, users have every reason to remain wary of spending the extra money now.
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