Movies Anywhere, Hollywood’s response to the wave of streaming

Faced with the continued decline in DVD sales, Hollywood is trying a new approach. On Wednesday, October 11, five of the six major US movie studios launched a joint new online service in hopes of boosting digital sales. Called Movies Anywhere, it allows you to build a collection of films that can be viewed anywhere, regardless of the store on which they were purchased.

Concretely, this means that its users can watch a feature film acquired on Apple’s iTunes platform from their Android smartphone, Google’s operating system. Or a movie purchased from Amazon on their Roku TV box. All you have to do is download the Movies Anywhere application, which automatically synchronizes the digital film library.

This is a big step forward for consumers, assures Karin Gilford, the service manager. They’ll never have to remember where they bought a movie or what device they can watch it on ever again.”. By freeing themselves from ecosystems, the studios hope to give more value to legal downloads.

Change of strategy

The idea is not new. It was launched in 2014 by Disney. In recent months, the creator of Mickey had started negotiations with his Hollywood colleagues to join his platform. Four were convinced: Warner Bros, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Sony Pictures. Only Paramount is still missing, due to a dispute over financial terms. The service, only available in the United States, already offers more than 7,000 films.

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The launch of Movies Anywhere is a change of strategy. Until now, Disney’s rivals have been betting on the UltraViolet offer, which allows you to download the digital version of a film purchased on DVD or Blu-ray. The objective was to boost sales. But the downtrend continued. Last year, the turnover generated by DVDs and Blu-rays fell by 10% in the United States, according to the Digital Entertainment Group. And it has been halved since 2010. The finding is similar in Europe: – 16% in France according to the National Center for Cinema and Animated Image in 2016.

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At the same time, digital sales have increased significantly, in particular because the studios are offering their films before they are released on DVD. But this increase did not make up all of the shortfall. Worse, the growth of the segment is running out of steam. It was only 5% last year in the United States, compared to 18% in 2015. Consumers favor streaming services, such as Netflix, which now generate more revenue than film sales. But which also bring much less to Hollywood.

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Movies Anywhere, Hollywood’s response to the wave of streaming