Disney Broadens Movie-Sharing App to Android Users

Consumers are now able to get a Walt Disney Co. movie application on their Google Inc. Android devices and not just on their Apple Inc. gadgets.

Disney earlier this year partnered with Apple to start Disney Movies Anywhere, a movie-management service that lets people buy a Disney film and then view it on multiple devices. Now Disney is broadening the service to Android-based smartphones and tablets, so people can watch the movies on those gadgets even if the films were purchased through Apple’s iTunes store, said Jamie Voris, chief technology officer of Walt Disney Studios.

The move gives Disney more avenues for where and how its movies can be viewed, as the Burbank, California-based company and other Hollywood studios combat declining sales of DVDs and fight for consumer attention as people gravitate to online streaming services such as Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. The studios are also trying to reduce illegal downloads of films by making it easier for consumers to buy them and watch them anyplace.

“It’s buy it wherever you want, enjoy it everywhere,” Voris said. “It was really important to us to work with Google to build an authentic Android experience.”

Sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs fell 8 percent to $7.8 billion last year, according to the Digital Entertainment Group, an industry trade association. Revenue from digital options, including electronic purchases, video on demand and subscription streaming services, rose 24 percent to $6.5 billion.

Google’s Motivation

Google, which wants to boost growth beyond its core advertising products, is also trying to widen the appeal of Android devices for watching and consuming content. With the new agreement, consumers will have more freedom to move their Disney content among devices with different operating systems.

“Fundamentally, this is solving that problem of giving value to a digital movie regardless of who you buy it from,” said Jon Zepp, head of movie partnerships for Google Play, the marketplace for buying content on Android devices.

Disney and Apple rolled out Disney Movies Anywhere for iPhones in February, Voris said. Now with the Android partnership, the service is available on a majority of smartphones, since Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems made up more than 90 percent of the market last year, according to Gartner Inc.

Users of the Disney Movies Anywhere service get points for purchases and access to special offers and content. Since 2008, Disney has included codes in the packaging of its DVDs and Blu-ray discs that let people download electronic copies of the film.

Disney doesn’t participate in Ultraviolet, a cloud-based movie storage service backed by other major movie studios and consumer electronics companies. Disney has separately developed KeyChest, a proprietary technology for digital film storage that powers Disney Movies Anywhere.

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