Kickstarter backers who funded the new Veronica Mars movie no longer have to use UltraViolet, Hollywood’s much-maligned video locker service.
Instead, fans will be able to purchase the movie through iTunes or Amazon and get a full rebate by sending in the receipt, according to Re/code. Alternatively, backers can stick with Ultraviolet and get $10 back for their troubles.
Backers can get the offer by sending a complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warner Brothers angered Veronica Mars backers last week by making them claim their movies through UltraViolet. As backers discovered, the service is a major hassle. Claiming a movie requires two separate logins—one to create the UltraViolet account, and another for the actual movie service to which it’s tied, such as Flixster, Vudu or CinemaNow. This process can be prone to errors, and additional “download manager” software is required if you prefer downloading over streaming.
To make matters worse, there are no Ultraviolet-supported apps available for Apple TV, and existing iOS apps don’t support AirPlay or external monitors, so users had limited options for watching the movie on a television.
Warner Brothers claimed that Ultraviolet was the only way to allow global, simultaneous distribution, but this isn’t entirely true given that DRM-free options such as VHX are available. Warner could have also done what it’s doing now, and given backers an option to claim their movies via iTunes or Amazon from the start.
In any case, Warner’s rebate offer looks like a damning vote of no-confidence in the service it helped create. It’s clear that Ultraviolet needs a major overhaul to have any chance at widespread acceptance, rather than outright disdain.