At launch, the Movies Anywhere library features more than 7,300 digital movie titles, along with previews and film extras from the studios behind such hits as Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Fate of the Furious and War for the Planet of the Apes. The launch comes after several fits and starts, including the stalled UltraViolet digital locker service and Disney's launch of its own proprietary service, Disney Movies Anywhere.
Bloomberg is reporting that the three Disney competitors are set to join forces on the cloud service format by means of an agreement to utilize the KeyChest format that Disney has taken advantage of.
To celebrate this, Google is offering 5 movies to those who link two or more accounts (Disney, iTunes, Google, etc.) to Movies Anywhere. Movies Anywhere brings together the movies from Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.
Variety also adds that WB's CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, was one of the first rival executives to be in favor of Disney's deal. And while apps for competing services have usually been clunky or awkward, the brief demo we saw of the Movies Anywhere app looked sleek and well-designed. "To be more profitable, we don't need consumer spending [on discs] to grow". The studios' download-to-own business has been outflanked by the easier-to-use subscription VOD services, from broad-reach ones such as Netflix and Amazon Prime to more movie-oriented movie-niche players like Turner's FilmStruck. Because this is a cross-platform solution, movies previously purchased on the iTunes Store will now be available to users on Android devices, and iOS users will be able to watch Disney movies they've purchased from the Google Play Store.
"Movies Anywhere is a massive step forward for the consumer digital media experience, bringing the incredible film libraries of five studios together in a virtual one-stop movie-watching shop", said Karin Gilford, GM of the service.
Starting tonight, consumers can download a free Movies Anywhere app, create an account and link to any of the four digital retailers. Titles will be streamed - but they can be downloaded for offline viewing. Secondary accounts are supported - which can be locked down via ratings, so parents can hand off a tablet without worrying that their 8-year-old will watch Goodfellas instead of The Good Dinosaur.
While the service - which is wholly separate from Disney's planned OTT streaming services - is owned by Disney, it has an advisory committee with representatives of the other studios.
Movies Anywhere allows consumers to have up to five subaccounts, in addition to the master account.