Launching Oct. 12, Movies Anywhere is a new all-in-one service that will bring some of the world’s biggest movie studios and digital streaming platforms together into the one platform, meaning US viewers can watch content bought from multiple services through the one app.
Using the free app or website, viewers will be able to connect their Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu accounts to Movies Anywhere and then flick between every title bought or redeemed on those services, all within the Movies Anywhere Platform.
The app will work on iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast and Roku devices, as well as in browser, and Movies Anywhere says more platforms and retailers are still to come.
We’re yet to go hands-on with Movies Anywhere — stay tuned to CNET to get our first impressions Thursday — but already there’s an impressive list of Hollywood studios on board with the new service.
That means Movies Anywhere will have films from Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios (including titles from Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
But you’re out of luck if you want to watch “House of Cards” or “The Handmaid’s Tale” from launch. Netflix and Hulu are the most notable names left off the list of digital services compatible with Movies Anywhere.
Consider the battle lines drawn.
Hollywood fights back against streaming?
The major Hollywood powerhouses have come out to support the new service, but there’s one company at the front of the pack.
Walt Disney Studios senior vice president and former general manager of Disney Movies Anywhere, Karin Gilford, has been charged with leading the project as Movies Anywhere’s general manager. According to a statement, Gilford will lead an independent “cross-functional team of product, technology, marketing and other professionals” as part of the project.
Gilford described Movies Anywhere as “a virtual one-stop movie-watching shop” and a massive step forward for consumers wanting to access digital movies and TV.
“Consumers never have to remember where they purchased a film or which device they can watch it on, because all of their eligible movies will be centralized within their Movies Anywhere library and available across platforms through the Movies Anywhere app and website and also available at their connected digital retailers.”
The likes of Netflix and Hulu have long held pride of place in the digital media landscape, but there are signs that the world order is changing. In August, the Walt Disney Company announced it would be pulling its titles from Netflix by 2018 (including flagship Marvel and Star Wars titles) to start its own streaming service the following year.
And there’s the rub. While Netflix and Hulu have reduced their reliance on outside studios by creating their own Originals in-house — like “Stranger Things” or “The Handmaid’s Tale” — there’s no doubt big names like Disney, Sony and Universal still produce a great deal of the titles viewers want to watch.
That’s where services like Movies Anywhere could rise to the top. Your average movie buff doesn’t want to know about the machinations of studios and streaming services — they just want the latest blockbusters in one place. By securing the buy-in of major studios as well as digital retailers, Movies Anywhere could soon be the one-stop-shop for viewers, giving them what they want, where and when they want it.
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