02 Apr Screen Engine/ASI: Consumers Rapidly Embracing Movies Anywhere
(Above) Source: Screen Engine/ASI
With the launch of the Movies Anywhere service in October 2017, home entertainment consumers gained a new cloud storage option for watching the films in their digital collections. While the original service, known as Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA), provided a convenient way for audiences to access their favorite Disney films, the new Movies Anywhere (MA) allows consumers to consolidate purchases across Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, VUDU, Google Play and, as of mid-March, FandangoNow, from multiple studios. The service aims to mitigate pain points related to owning movies across digital retailers and looks to boost digital purchases, by making it easy for consumers to comparison shop and access all their movies from one place. (Movies Anywhere is a Disney-owned entity that operates independently with input from an Advisory Committee with members from each of the participating studios.)
Consumer tracking research from Screen Engine/ASI shows that MA has gotten off to a fast start with a good level of initial awareness and usage, most likely due to the pre-existing DMA user base and marketing from all of the participating studios. A majority of home entertainment consumers are familiar with cloud storage services, and as the longest established service, UltraViolet predictably has the highest familiarity (73 percent) and usage (20 percent), among consumers. Despite its recent launch, however, MA is close to UltraViolet in both awareness (55 percent) and usage (15 percent), as of Q4 2017. (See chart above.)
MA users have quickly taken advantage of the opportunity to store content from various digital retailers. While users of the now closed DMA service had an average of 10.9 movies in their libraries, MA users already have built libraries averaging 16.8 movies, close to the 17.8 movies stored, on average, by users of longer running UltraViolet. This can be attributed in part to the fact that consumers can use MA to consolidate content from multiple retailer accounts — 27 percent of the average MA library resulted from users syncing their MA account with other accounts, including iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu and Google Play.
Frequency of usage is off to a good start as well — 74 percent of MA users reported using the site at least once a week in Q4 2017, which is a greater frequency of usage than either UltraViolet or DMA.
The primary viewing screen for movies stored on MA, DMA and UltraViolet is the television (via smart TVs, streaming media devices and game consoles), followed by laptops, but MA and DMA users are more likely than UltraViolet users to have used mobile devices (smartphones or tablets) to view their collections. The propensity to view on mobile devices makes sense for MA users, due in part to the ease of using the MA app. In addition, the demographic profile of MA users includes many parents in higher income households, which makes them more likely to have children using MA on mobile devices.
Movies Anywhere usability rated high, but purchase done elsewhere
As mentioned previously, MA rates high on usability. Of those surveyed, 85 percent agreed that the MA website/app is easy to use. Additionally, 76 percent of MA users say that the platform has become one of their favorite places to watch movies. Despite robust traffic to the site, however, 72 percent of MA users said they still go back to another digital retailer app or website to purchase movies, rather than initiating the purchase through MA. As studios continue to capitalize on the potential of MA, we recommend that they explore making purchasing movies a seamless transaction that can be done without leaving the MA app or web site.
As disc sales decline, MA has the potential to help invigorate interest in digital movie ownership. Screen Engine/ASI found that 49 percent of MA users reported they were more likely to purchase a film due to the benefits of MA. We feel it will be important to continue tracking how the usage of MA impacts home entertainment purchases, especially as agreements with SVOD services evolve (and ownership becomes the only way that consumers can insure that they have access to their favorite movies).
Movies Anywhere has the potential to revolutionize digital ownership. It just must continue attracting more users; retain them through a great user interface and a wide range of new releases and promotions; and give them the ability to transact within the app/site.
Mark Orne is SVP of the New Media Group at Screen Engine/ASI (www.screenengineasi.com), a full-service entertainment market research agency. All data referenced in this article is from the NET (New Entertainment Technology) Tracker, a quarterly online survey of active home entertainment consumers, launched in 2016, which provides in-depth insights into emerging entertainment technology.