In early 2014 Disney announced a surprisingly reasonable approach to their digital movie sales: Buy it once, access it on many services. “Disney Movies Anywhere” ensured that when bought one of their movies on any of iTunes, Amazon, Google, or Vudu, you also got it on the other three services at no extra charge.
Ever since then, Disney movies (including Marvel and Star Wars) are the only digital movies I’ve been willing to buy. If any one service went out of business, I knew I’d still be able to access the movies elsewhere. And since this coincided roughly with the time my daughter started watching Disney movies over and over again, I had to know they wouldn’t disappear into the void.
Even when DMA dropped support for Microsoft’s movie store recently, purchased & linked movies weren’t removed from your Microsoft account. Very reasonable.
As a bonus, DMA meant digital movie sellers could actually compete with each other on price. I don’t use Vudu, but if they put a Disney movie on sale I could buy it and watch it on my iPad via iTunes.
Sure, the Ultraviolet movie locker service has been around longer and did similar things, but it never had direct integration with platform-specific services like iTunes and Google Play. DMA was a breath of fresh air.
Today it got even better – Disney Movies Anywhere is now simply “Movies Anywhere“, since Disney added new studios to the mix. Fox, Warner Bros, Sony, and Universal movies now sync across services too!
That leaves Paramount and Lionsgate as the holdouts, and yes it’s slightly annoying to have to scrutinize a movie’s studio before I buy it, but this is still huge. I had a number of movies trapped in Vudu that I got via free promotions over the years, but I never watched them because I hate Vudu’s apps so much. Now those movies are also safely stashed in my Google, iTunes, and Amazon accounts.
And I’ll say it again: I can buy movies at lower prices from different stores when they go on sale! For example: The Lego Batman Movie is $2.49 on Amazon right now, so I bought it and watched it tonight via Google. The same movie is $19.99 elsewhere. This sounds simple, but it’s new territory for digital movies.
I’m strangely excited about this. Go sign up for Movies Anywhere. Link your various accounts and they’ll even give you a pile of free movies right now.