New movie download service tipped

By banding together, the makers of the world's most popular films are betting they can succeed in attracting more users ...
Reuters

By banding together, the makers of the world's most popular films are betting they can succeed in attracting more users than their previous attempts did.

Several major Hollywood movie studios have signed up to a new digital film service led by Walt Disney that lets consumers buy movies and store them in a digital locker to access on their devices, people familiar with the matter said.

Disney has been courting studios to join its Movies Anywhere service since last year.

Customers can buy, watch and store their online film purchases at a single site through the product.

Major studios such as 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are among those joining the service, the people said. The plan could be announced as soon as this week, they said.

The service could help studios compensate for the collapse in physical DVD sales and a disappointing year at the box office.

By banding together, the makers of the world's most popular films, including Disney's Star Wars and Warner Bros DC Comics, are betting they can succeed in attracting more users than their previous attempts did.

Disney originally introduced its service under the name Disney Movies Anywhere in 2014, and other studios supported a rival format called UltraViolet.

North American theatre ticket sales year to date are down almost 5 per cent, according to ComScore.

DVD sales fell more than 10 percent in the first half of this year, versus the same period last year, while electronic sales have grown over 8 per cent, according to data from the Digital Entertainment Group.

Paramount Pictures is the only one of the six major studios that isn't joining Movies Anywhere, because of a disagreement over financial terms, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

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Disney Movies Anywhere used a proprietary storage technology called KeyChest that allows consumers to access movies on one site, whether they're purchased online from Apple's iTunes, Amazon, Google or a brick-and-mortar store.

The service offered films from all of the company's brands, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

 - Bloomberg

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