Disney launched a new streaming service called Disney Movies Anywhere today through iTunes just as its critically acclaimed Frozen became available on the Apple service. The studio’s new services offers titles from its massive library, ranging from blockbusters Thor: The Dark World and Iron Man 3 to those films in the Pixar library like Wall-E and Wreck-It-Ralph, to critically acclaimed live-action films like Saving Mr. Banks. It is yet to be seen how much it will cost or whether it will be able to compete with some of the bigger, well-known streaming services on the Internet like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
This move marks the second time the studio has tried to launch its own streaming service. Back in 2012, the Mouse House pulled the plug on Disney Movies Online, which they launched in 2009 and mimics many of the services one could find on Netflix or Amazon Prime, due to cost issues and a lack of users on the site.
A Disney spokesman said at the time that they were closing the service down “until we are able to provide the greatest value and experience to our customers.” It is yet to be seen whether or not Disney Movies Anywhere will live up to that launch, though this does give Disney a lot of potential avenues from which they can enter the digital realm. They can become, as many have suggested, an alternative to sites like Ultraviolet. To those who are not familiar with the service, Ultraviolet allows customers to take DVDs and Blu-Rays that they currently own and transfer them to a cloud service where they can watch on their mobile device or share them with family.
It is a good service, albeit one that is a little constricted since selected UV titles usually have a limit in terms of when you can place it on to your account. If Disney and its DMA service can give the user a little more flexibility in this department, it seems entirely plausible that they can reach a higher user base than they were able to with their newly launched Disney Movies Online service. There is one potential problem though, in that many Disney movies are already featured, at this point, on Netflix and Amazon Prime.
Netflix has classic Disney movies like The Aristocats, The Rescuers and Robin Hood already on their site. They also have Disney favorites like Mulan and Lilo and Stitch that have a beloved following among those of the Millennial generation. A service that offers both could be seen as a confusing endeavor for consumers who already subscribe to Netflix. The same issue is visible with Amazon Prime which offers many of the same Disney movies like Wreck-It-Ralph on the site that DMA does.
The big determining factor, however, as to whether Disney Movies Anywhere streaming will do better for Disney in its launch lies in how well it operates with the consumer. It was what helped make Netflix the multi-billion-dollar enterprise that it is today. It helped turn Amazon Prime into an intriguing laboratory for television shows that may not be well received by TV executives to get viewed by a mass audience. If Walt Disney can crack it, it should end up doing very well. The inclusion of the newly acquired Star Wars library would not hurt them either.
Editorial By Brian Ault