Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA), Walt Disney’s digital locker service, has launched on Google Play. The launch consists of two principal elements:
- The launch of the DMA app on the Google Play Store. The app provides a gateway to Disney content including promotional material relating to upcoming releases, exclusive videos, access to content that users have registered with the system, as well as providing the facility to redeem codes associated with other promotional items.
- Integration of the Google Play video service with Disney’s rights locker, which allows Google Play users to access movies which they have registered with the service (e.g. by redeeming codes in physical media or which they have purchased through iTunes), and allows Disney movies bought through Google Play to be accessed via the DMA app and iTunes.
As with the launch of DMA with Apple in February 2014, users are offered a free promotional movie in return for registering an account with Disney. When the service initially launched with iTunes, users were offered ‘The Incredibles’. Now registering any account from a participating retailer yields ‘Wreck it Ralph’.
The deal includes content from Disney, Pixar, and Marvel and is limited to the US.
Disney’s strategy of combining an app launch with the expansion of its rights locker now covers both Apple’s App Store and Google Play which are the two largest app stores in the US. More importantly, the two services collectively represent a significant proportion of the digital film market, and took a combined share of almost 70% of the US movie EST business in H1 2014.
When DMA launched in February 2014, we noted that the relatively liberal policies associated with the service (each participating retailer can use their standard usage rules, file formats etc.) could well encourage service providers which have not signed on with UltraViolet (UV) to join the initiative. That has now been shown to be the case. Although the number of participating services is, in absolute terms, smaller than the number of UV partners, it is interesting that this approach has won favour with owners of iOS and Android, the two largest digital platforms, rather than retailers (which have led adoption of UV). In this context it is tempting to see Disney’s choice of partners as indicative of a longer-term plan for the DMA app.
We continue to believe that what is unfolding here is best thought of as a non-zero sum game rather than a full-on format war between digital rights lockers. Instead, what we are seeing is the evolution of two approaches to making digital content more portable and more convenient for the user. There is no fundamental reason that both DMA and UV cannot both help to stimulate demand for owning movies. Ultimately, providing that both solutions help to ameliorate many of the content access issues which act as a disincentive to purchasing digitally, the net effect on the development of the digital retail market should be positive.