Disney brings its Movies Anywhere service to Android

The move will allow users to purchase and stream Disney movies from any iOS or Android device

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
November 4, 2014
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When Disey released its Movies Anywhere service, a digital locker for accessing Disney, Marvel and Pixar content, back in February there was one thing glaring omission: Android. The initial rollout for Disney Movies Anywhere was only on iOS devices and iTunes, thereby leaving out a substantial sector of the mobile audience. 

Well, that issue has finally been rectified, as Disney has made a deal with Google to allow users to purchase and watch movies from Android devices as well, it has been confirmed to VatorNews.

The app will be available for purchase through the Google Play store starting on Tuesday.

All users have to is connect their iTunes or Google Play accounts to their Disney Movies Anywhere account. They can then start purchasing content directly from the store, or they can use a code supplied on their physical DVD and upload them to the service as well. It provides access to a library of over 450 titles. 

“We want to make it easy for movie fans to enjoy all of their past and future digital purchases across all of their devices," said Jonathan Zepp, head of Google Play Movies partnerships, said in a statement. "Our partnership with Disney now gives Google Play users the ability to conveniently watch all of their Disney, Marvel and Pixar digital movies that have been purchased from any Disney Movies Anywhere participating retailer."

The deal between Disney and Google is significant for a number of reasons. First, because it is a rare case of Apple and Google coming together to share licensing agreements for content, as both companies will be streaming the same titles.

It's also a big deal because Disney is the only Hollywood studio to launch its own streaming stand-alone service, whereas every other major Hollywood studio has instead decided to join cloud-based storage system Ultraviolet.

While the other studios involved, including Time Warner, Warner Bros. and Sony, have been reportedly trying to get Disney to join Ultravoilet, adding Android should give Disney enough leverage to remain independent. As of July, Android had a 51.5% market share in the United States, compared to 42.4% for iOS, according to ComScore

Movies and television are currently undergoing a renaissance similar to the one undergone by the music industry in the early 2000s, as more and more people are giving up physical media in favor of digital content.

Look at  how much what has happened in just the past five years and how much streaming services have grown in that time. In 2009, Netflix had only 12.3 million subscribers; now it has 37.2 million. Amazon Prime, meanwhile, had only 2 million subscribers in 2009, and now it has at least 20 million. 

The importance of digital content was underscored last month when HBO announced it would be launching its own stand-alone streaming service in 2015. That was immediately followed by an announcement from CBS that it would be doing the same thing. 

By the way, Disney really does has a knack for when it unveils these partnerships.

In February, when it announced the iOS deal, it was lined up to coincides with the digital release of “Frozen” and offered a free digital copy of  “The Incredibles" to anyone who connected their Disney Movies Anywhere account to their iTunes account.

This time around it is lining up with releases of "Maleficent" and "Planes: Fire & Rescue," and Disney is giving away a free copy of "Wreck-It Ralph" to customers who connect a new iTunes or Google account.

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