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Disney Launches New App, Movie Service Linked to iTunes

Disney Movies Anywhere is an cloud-based movie service that allows users to purchase, watch and store more Disney films online and on iDevices.
Posted at 3:22 PM, Feb 25, 2014

Walt Disney Studios and Apple might as well make it official. Disney announced a new app Tuesday that’s both heavily integrated with iTunes and — for now — only available on your iDevices.

The app is fittingly called Disney Movies Anywhere because, well, that’s its goal – to keep your kid singing “Let It Go” anywhere.  (Via Walt Disney Studios)

It acts sort of like iTunes for Disney movies, meaning users can browse through more than 400 Disney films, including Pixar and Marvel movies. 

Users who download the app will be prompted to connect to iTunes. This syncs your previous Disney buys to the app and will transfer all future purchases into your iTunes library. All told, it’s a smooth experience.

Plus, if you link accounts, Disney will gift you a free copy of "The Incredibles," so that’s neat. (Via Disney Pixar / "The Incredibles")

But why the separation? Frankly, you can already buy and play Disney movies from your iTunes account.

Before you jump to money, AppleInsider says Apple “still receives its share of all content purchased through native applications on iOS devices.”

Disney’s Chief Tech Officer Jamie Voris tells VentureBeat one advantage of the separate app. It gives parents control over the type of content allowed on each device.

So Thor might be OK on the older sibling’s iPad but be blocked from the younger one’s iPod Touch based on its PG-13 rating.

The Wall Street Journal points out, Disney’s strategy differs from most of its competitors in Hollywood, who are using UltraViolet.

UltraViolet is essentially the same idea. You buy a movie, put in the code and it’s kept in an online “locker” you can access from any device at anytime. WSJ says, “Ultraviolet has several online partners, but its most notable omission is Apple’s iTunes.”

And, of course, Apple’s ol’ pal Disney. A writer for Re/code says this has contributed to why UltraViolet hasn’t really worked. But that doesn’t mean he thinks Disney Movies Anywhere is any better.

“The fundamental problem with Disney Movies Anywhere is right there in the name. It’s a silo for the Disney brand, which may make sense to people who work at Disney, but not for the rest of us.”

Disney has said it plans to release its app on other tech platforms, but we’re not sure when.

The app is available to download now, as is Disney’s Oscar-nominated “Frozen.” We see what you did there.