Disney is rumored to be expanding their Disney Movies Anywhere digital locker service to include movies from other studios such as 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. The service, which is said to be called “Movies Anywhere” and live at moviesanywhere.com, is expected to support Amazon Video, VUDU, Google Play, and Apple iTunes. If it works like the existing Disney Movies Anywhere service, it would mean that buying a movie from a participating studio through any of the major digital stores will result in the movie becoming accessible through all other video services at no additional charge.
UltraViolet is the digital locker service that has come closest to the dream of being able to buy a movie once and play it through numerous streaming stores without having to buy it again. While UltraViolet managed to get most major film studios to participated they were not able to get top streaming providers like Amazon, Google, and Apple onboard. This resulted in UltraViolet access being limited to services like VUDU and Flixster, which are not available on numerous platforms, like the Fire TV.
When Disney launched their Disney Movies Anywhere digital locker service for their own films, they had no trouble getting most major streaming providers, like Amazon, Google, and Apple to participate. This meant that buy a Disney movie through Amazon, for example, made the movie instantly accessible on Apple iTunes and all other participating digital stores at no extra charge.
Disney is now expected to rebrand the service as Movies Anywhere and allow additional film studios to join so that movies other than those produced by Disney are included in the digital locker. As previously mentioned 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. are said to participate in the newly expanded service, joining Disney, which in turn also includes Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures.
Assuming the service works like Disney Movies Anywhere, it would mean that buying a movie produced by any of the aforementioned film studios from any of the participating digital stores will instantly unlock the movie on all other participating digital stores.
Bloomberg is reporting that the service will allow for movie downloads in addition to streaming, much like Amazon and Netflix already do. We’ll have to wait for the service to officially launch before learning more.
The above promotional image has appeared on Slickdeals and was allegedly leaked by VUDU. It suggests that customers will receive up to 5 free movies for linking their various digital store accounts. Signing up and linking one account, such as your Amazon account, would give you the movies Ghostbusters (2016) and Ice Age for free. Linking a second digital store account, such as Google Play or Apple iTunes, would give you the movies Big Hero 6, The Lego Movie, and Jason Bourne for free.
The Disney Movies Anywhere service is currently down due to “technical difficulties.” This could be an indication that Disney is making the transition to the new service right now and that it will launch very soon.