DreamWorks Animation Joins Walmart’s Disc-to-Digital Service

“Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda” fans can upload their discs into the UltraViolet cloud via new DreamWorks Animation-WalMart deal

DreamWorks Animation is joining Walmart's Disc-to-Digital service, the animation house said Monday. 

The service allows customers to upload their DVDs and Blu-rays into the retailer's cloud-service. The program began Monday at more than 3,500 Walmart stores.

In addition to DreamWorks Animation, five major studios — Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox, Sony and Universal — are offering their films. Disney is the lone holdout. 

DreamWorks Animation's participation will not make up for Disney's absence, but it does boast impressive family franchises like "Kung Fu Panda" and "Shrek."

Also read: UltraViolet Backers Get Ready to Make More Noise in 2012

Walmart is storing the movies digitally through its online subsidiary Vudu while using technology developed for Hollywood's UltraViolet service.

It is seen as a shot in the arm to UltraViolet, the cloud-based storage system that launched with great expectations last year, but has struggled to entice customers. The hope had been that UltraViolet could reverse declining disc sales by allowing consumers to access the movies they buy on their mobile devices. 

In January, UltraViolet's backers announced that 750,000 UltraViolet accounts had been set up, short of some analysts' projections. That number came without the promotional and institutional heft of a major retailer.

Walmart's participation changes that equation, but it came with some caveats. Executives at Walmart were concerned that UltraViolet was too esoteric a concept to entice customers, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation. 

The company felt that by rebranding the service as Disc-to-Digital it could keep the focus squarely fixed on selling physical discs while familiarizing customers with the concept of storing and accessing their movies digitally.

The service costs $2  to load each DVD or Blu-ray into the cloud and  $5 to upgrade titles to high-definition.