The Allure & Limitations of Movies Anywhere

I’m a huge fan of Movies Anywhere. The little service that could have caused me to purchase more movies, in the past year, than I care to count. I enjoy the idea that any movie I purchase from a participating service (and studio) will end up on practically every other major device that I use for consuming content. No longer do my films have to be locked to any particular ecosystem (save for the MA ecosystem, such that it is).

Yet, I’m not 100% on board with Movies Anywhere, and there is a key reason for that.

Have you heard of Movies Anywhere?

First, let’s take a step back: Movies Anywhere is a service run by Disney (did you know that?) that lets users consolidate the movies that they purchase from major retailers. Retailers include Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google, and a few others. When you purchase movies from one retailer, it shows up on another.

The benefit of this is that you can now purchase movies when you see the best deals, and not have to worry so much about the retailer that’s offering the deal. Microsoft Movies & TV, for example, has a whole section of movies that are offered for $5. It’s a great way to get some classics but not necessarily have those films tied to an Xbox console or a Windows PC.

Movies Anywhere also offer an app, so you can use it to watch all of the movies that you’ve consolidated into this library. Again, it’s a great way to see all of the films you’ve purchased – plus there’s secondary content (bonus features that you can watch as well).

Movies Anywhere also offer a few cool community-based features: 2 of the main ones are ‘watch together’ where you can watch with friends and ‘screen pass’ where you can lend 3 movies a month to someone else with an MA account. I’ll get into those features in a separate post.

Sounds good, so what’s the issue?

The allure of Movies Anywhere has a major drawback, that keeps me from becoming 100% on board with the service.

That one drawback is that not every major studio is on board. Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate are not participating studios, and that means that their films aren’t eligible to be part of the catalog. This is especially problematic because I have some of their films sitting in a walled garden on Xbox. Not to mention, Paramount and Lionsgate seem to offer the best deals on their movies all of the time. I don’t pull the trigger on them because I don’t want them locked to one particular platform.

I’m not sure what the hang-up is between MA and these studios, but after a couple of years, I wished that everyone was on-board with this idea. If it has caused people like me to increase my digital purchases (given that I also subscribe to an unhealthy number of streaming services) I would think that these studios could see the benefit in letting their catalog of films be part of the program.

Generally speaking, I adore what Movies Anywhere brings to the table. It’s nice to have my movie collection appear anywhere I want to watch films. I do sometimes wonder why people would watch movies through the app, but that’s a discussion for another time.

If you’re getting to know Movies Anywhere for the first time, I’d love to hear what you like and dislike about the service. If you have questions about it, I’m more than happy to answer the ones that I can.

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