By Dan Moren
October 12, 2017 6:21 AM PT
Movies Anywhere now goes beyond Disney
In the confusing world of digital film purchases, Disney Movies Anywhere has long been the gold standard. With the ability to link your DMA account to retailers like iTunes and Amazon, it meant that you only had to buy a movie once and get access to it on a number of popular services.
Well, the good news is that some sense appears to have finally taken hold in Hollywood. The new Movies Anywhere service is cut from DMA’s cloth but also has the backing of other major studios, including Warner Bros., Universal, Fox, and Sony. But the idea remains the same: buy your digital movie once, and watch it on any of the partners’ services. You can stream it, download it, watch it on your computer, watch it on your tablet, watch it on your set-top box—pretty much anything you’d want to do with a movie.
Look, I don’t buy a whole lot of films these days. I prefer to stream or rent—and as far as studios are concerned, I’m part of the problem. The industry’s previous attempt at a unified digital locker system, the justly maligned Ultraviolet, was a morass of confusion and user hostility. But, as it happens, the last two movies I purchased both happened to be Blu-ray Disney movies1 and DMA made it easy for me to get and watch digital copies the way I wanted to watch them.
I’m no friend to DRM, but if you’re going to protect your content, at least do it in a way that doesn’t impede legitimate users. As a creator, I don’t ever want technology to stop someone who has paid for my work.
Movies Anywhere promises a pretty sizable library, though there are still holdouts—Paramount being the largest, along with other significant players like Lionsgate. But the service is sweetening the pot by offering users a handful of free movies when you link an account.2 (It can also pull in movies you’ve bought on those services, as well as let you migrate your existing DMA account.)
Dare I say, this seems like an indication that Hollywood is finally “getting it” where digital film purchases are concerned. Then again, with the continued encroachment of streaming, digital rentals, and peak TV, maybe they just got desperate.
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