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The Case of the Vanishing DVDs

Techstination feature for Tuesday, July 6, 2004

The case of the vanishing DVDs. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It's a concept that's being tested in Phoenix, San Antonio, Denver and throughout Florida. Selling movies on DVD discs that once unwrapped… becomes unplayable after two days. The technology belongs to FlexPlay where VP Erin Taggart says…

"A FlexPlay DVD is a DVD that has a pre-set viewing window that's activated once the disc is removed from its packaging. At that point your viewing window is activated. Ez-D, the consumer application of FlexPlay that's now in the marketplace has a 48 hour viewing window. So consumers drop by 7-11, they can pick up a movie, don't have to watch it within two days as a typical rental would be. Simply open it up when they're ready to watch it and from that point on they have a 48 hour viewing window. It behaves exactly like a standard DVD during that time frame."

Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment has released ez-D titles in the test markets. In those areas…consumers will soon be able to order movies with pizzas as well. How soon might the disappearing discs go nationwide…

"I think that the initial results have been extremely promising. And I think Buena Vista is just trying to refine the marketing strategy and understand how this works in particular channels and I anticipate that they're going to be making a decision relatively soon."

The price per disc ranges from 6 to 7 dollars. Online downloadable movie rentals are using a similar concept…with movie files deleting themselves after a specified period of time. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.