- A new digital service called Movies Anywhere lets people sync their online movie libraries across connected device accounts, per a press release. Movies from studios Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios — which encompasses Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm — Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment that have been purchased or redeemed through digital retailers Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu are included in the service.
- Movies Anywhere can be accessed via an app or website to watch movies on a variety of platforms, including Amazon Fire devices; Android devices and Android TV; Apple TV; Chromecast; iPhone, iPad and iPod touch; Roku devices and popular browsers. The press release suggested more partners will join the program in the future. At launch, the Movies Anywhere library features more than 7,300 titles as well as fresh previews and film extras from participating studios.
As part of the rollout, Movies Anywhere is offering new users up to five digital movies. By activating and connecting an Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes or Vudu account, those users will receive copies of Sony Pictures' remake of "Ghostbusters" and Twentieth Century Fox's "Ice Age.” By connecting with a second participating retailer, they will get Disney's "Big Hero 6," Universal's "Jason Bourne" and Warner Bros.' "The Lego Movie."
Movies Anywhere could prove to be a boon for movie lovers who've grown frustrated trying to manage their online collections across an ever-more fragmented digital content ecosystem. This problem has become more apparent as people buy, rent and watch movies not just on myriad platforms like Roku and Amazon Video but also different devices, especially mobile phones. More than half of all video viewing now happens on mobile, according to analysis from Ooyala published last year.
It's significant that almost all of the major Hollywood studios — usually closely pitted against each other — have banded together for Movies Anywhere. It might signal that a strength-in-numbers approach is being adopted as these companies weather tighter competition from over-the-top streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video (though, it should be noted, Amazon is a partner on the program). Netflix subscriptions have grown 20% to over 100 million in the past year or so, and the platform boosted the revenue from its mobile application by 233% to $153 million during the second quarter of 2017.
Major studios are also likely thinking about building out their digital businesses as theaters continue to see dwindling ticket sales. Hollywood just came off what's speculated to be one of the worst summer box office performances in the last 25 years. Stemming from the trend, more entertainment brands like Disney are planning to launch their own streaming services and take media properties off of what are now rival platforms like Netflix.