UltraViolet, the digital platform designed to store your digital movies from most large studios other than Disney, has announced they will be shutting down their services by the end of July 2019. While UltraViolet became initially popular among major film studios in its early years, The Walt Disney Company withheld from licensing their films to UltraViolet, instead, they launched their own platform, Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) in 2014, designed to collect films from your Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm movie collections. In 2017, DMA became Movies Anywhere, a Disney-owned entity that is operated independently now with the backing of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Studios, Sony Pictures, and 20th Century Fox (which Disney will soon own regardless). Movies Anywhere became the superior, direct, competitor to UltraViolet, presenting a far easier and sleek platform to collect your films, and view their associated bonus features. Now, the demise of its biggest competitor gives Disney the upper-hand in the digital movie arms race.
Here’s how Movies Anywhere works: By purchasing a digital movie, or entering the digital code found in your Blu-Ray copy of a film, you can link your participant in which the film was redeemed on (from Google Play, iTunes, Fandango, Microsoft, and VUDU), into one localized storage library for all of your films. This allows users to access their films in one place, rather than being scattered across iTunes or Google, keeping a simplified and easy-to-access platform.
Disney is preparing to launch its own Netflix-style streaming platform, titled Disney+, at the end of this year. With its direct ownership of Disney+ (which will leverage Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and the newly owned National Geographic), Movies Anywhere, and its 60% ownership in Hulu, Disney’s presence in the digital race continues to grow. It’s unclear what Disney benefits precisely from its ownership of Movies Anywhere, but its platform allows Disney to control the playing field a bit, as it revolutionizes the world of digital movies and cloud-based storing. Movies Anywhere is also the unique independent collaboration between five major studios, resulting in a game-changer of the industry.
While it may seem that studios may be pushing for the demise of physical media and digital cloud-based storing, the demise of UltraViolet is only beneficial to Disney, who could very likely see partnerships with abstaining studios, notably Lionsgate, Paramount, and MGM, all of which had a prominent presence in UltraViolet’s own platform. Additionally, users will likely flock to Movies Anywhere by connecting their VUDU account with Disney’s platform to secure their movies, bringing in more revenue for Movies Anywhere and continuing its ongoing success.
Movies Anywhere is another showcase of The Walt Disney Company choosing to pursue their own platform, rather than be confined to the restrictions of other providers, and crippling its competition in the process. With this scenario, it will be fascinating to watch Disney as they enter other areas of the world of digital media with the launch of Disney+ and their further control of Hulu and beyond.