After launching Disney Movies Anywhere on Apple devices in February, Walt Disney Studios has partnered with Google to make the streaming service available on platforms that run on Android.
The deal should significantly expand the reach of DMA in the United States, given that Android powers the majority of the world’s mobile devices — from smartphones to tablets, as well as some smart TVs and set top boxes.
Through the Google deal, the DMA website and app will now also be accessible on the Google Chromecast stick and eventually through the next iteration of Android called Lollipop, which is designed to run the infotainment systems found inside cars — a potential boon for Disney as parents turn to mobile screens to keep their kids occupied on the road.
While the Google deal will help expand the appeal of purchasing Disney, Pixar and Marvel-branded movies, it will also boost the profile of the Google Play store, which has recently made a more aggressive push to increase sales and rentals primarily through partnerships with Hollywood studios.
Google Play also sells songs, TV shows, apps, games and books.
The Google partnership will kick off with the homevideo releases of “Maleficent” and “Planes: Fire & Rescue” on digital and physical formats. Disney is promoting the expansion with a free digital copy of “Wreck-It Ralph” to consumers who connect their DMA accounts to their Google or iTunes accounts.
The service launched with the exclusive availability of “Frozen” three weeks before its DVD and Blu-ray Disc release, and a free digital copy of “The Incredibles.”
Disney Movies Anywhere provides access to a library of over 450 titles. Until now, those only were through digital copies of films found on DVD and Blu-ray purchases, and titles bought through Apple’s iTunes store, the No. 1 digital media retailer in the world.
While Disney says DMA has been successful since its launch in February, it was hard to ignore the fact that “the Android platform is clearly the most widely distributed platform in the world,” said Jamie Voris, chief technology officer of the Walt Disney Studios. “It was important to make something so they didn’t feel like secondclass citizens.”
Disney sees DMA as a way to increase the digital sale of movies, as DVD and Blu-ray disc sales decline and more consumers turn to their mobile devices to view content, especially family fare.
Google should make Disney’s app more attractive, at least.
Android is expected to have an 80% marketshare by the end of the year, followed by Apple’s iOS with 15%, according to IDC.
Yet that giant gap comes with a caveat. Apple’s devices accounted for 48.5% of mobile video viewing last year, according to Opera Mediaworks. That’s likely largely due to consumers watching content on their iPads, which still dominate the tablet category.
DMA provides more than just a way to sell more movies through the homevideo window.
It also is a platform to promote upcoming films and distribute short-form videos and other content, and as an incentive, offers consumers Disney Movie Reward points with purchases.
DMA is currently promoting “Big Hero 6,” which bows on Friday, and will offer pre-orders of the film on homevideo upon its release in theaters.
Either way, Disney is counting on DMA being available on more devices to increase digital sales of its movies as the viewing of digital entertainment spiked 53% over the past year, according to Nielsen.
“We want to make it easy for movie fans to enjoy all of their past and future digital purchases across all of their devices. Our partnership with Disney now gives Google Play users the ability to conveniently watch all of their Disney, Marvel and Pixar digital movies that have been purchased from any Disney Movies Anywhere participating retailer,” said Jonathan Zepp, head of Google Play Movies partnerships.