Disney's Movies Anywhere service comes to Google Play

The Walt Disney Co.'s online movie service is now available on Android mobile devices through Google Play, after launching early this year on Apple Inc.'s iTunes.

The service, dubbed Disney Movies Anywhere, gives consumers the ability to access and store their Disney films in one place whether they buy them online through iTunes, Google Play or at a brick-and-mortar store.

The Burbank, Calif., entertainment company introduced the so-called digital locker, which lets users watch their digital and physical Disney movie purchases on their phones and tablets, in February.

Jamie Voris, for Walt Disney Studios, said the company spent the following months building an app that would appeal to Android users.

"When we launched earlier this year, it took a little bit of a leap of faith," said Jamie Voris, chief technology officer at Walt Disney Studios. "We didn't want to launch something on Android that would make it look like a second-class citizen."

Through the app, users can download or stream their purchased films. Android users can also watch the on their TVs via Google's Chromecast, a small $35 streaming device.

Disney debuted the Movies Anywhere service as an alternative to UltraViolet, the Web technology backed by a group of retailers and rival studios that became available in 2011. Disney is the only major studio that does not use UltraViolet.

Film companies are pushing these cloud-based offerings to encourage people to buy copies of movies, rather than rent, pirate or wait to watch them on subscription streaming services.

And digital sales are gaining in popularity with consumers.

In August, Digital Entertainment Group said consumer spending on home entertainment was flat in the first half of 2014, compared with last year. However, sales of digital copies climbed 37 percent compared with the first six months of 2013.

"We want to make it easy for movie fans to enjoy all of their past and future digital purchases across all of their devices," said Jonathan Zepp, head of Google Play Movies partnerships, in a statement.

More than 400 titles, including those from Disney's Pixar and Marvel units, are available on the Disney movies app, which also has a variety of original video clips and trailers for upcoming movies.

The Google Play launch coincides with the home entertainment debuts of "Maleficent" starring Angelina Jolie and "Planes: Fire & Rescue," and Disney is giving away a download copy of "Wreck-It Ralph" to customers who connect a new iTunes or Google account.


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