Being able to buy a digital copy of a movie in a second through something like Google Play or iTunes or Amazon is great.
Keeping track of where you bought each movie, though, is pretty busted. When you're buying based on where it's cheapest or which device you're currently watching on, it's easy to end up with a bunch of movies sitting behind a bunch of different store's gates. It shouldn't work like this… and it seems like the big names are finally coming to agree.
Movies from a bunch of the big studios will now be watchable through one app called Movies Anywhere, regardless of whether you bought it from Google Play, iTunes, Amazon, or VUDU. And it'll be free!
This program evolved out of Disney Movies Anywhere, which launched a few years back but was limited to just Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar flicks. Now just "Movies Anywhere", it'll now also include movies from Sony, 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Brothers.
That means, of course, that it might not have all of the movies you've bought across the various stores, particularly at first. I'm told that Movies Anywhere will support around 7,300 movies at launch. iTunes as a whole, in comparison, has about 65,000 movies in its catalog. More movies will be added as more studios get onboard (Lionsgate and Paramount are noticeably absent here, right now) and as the existing partners get comfortable… but, at first glance, this seems like a big step in the right direction. I really hope they don't screw this up.
Perhaps best of all, particularly for all of you with a wide array of devices around the house: this should improve compatibility of your libraries considerably. Bought it on iTunes and want to watch it on Android? If it's on Movies Anywhere, it should work. Bought it on Amazon and want to Chromecast it without wonky tricks like casting your entire screen? That should work too.
Oh! And they've got a promotion going to celebrate the launch. Link two or more accounts to Movies Anywhere, and you'll get free copies of five movies — one from each of the big studio partners:
Big Hero 6 (Disney)
Ice Age (20th Century Fox)
Jason Bourne (Universal)
The Lego Movie (WB)