updated 11:32 am EST, Tue February 25, 2014
Allows streaming movies purchased elsewhere for free
Disney has launched a new iOS app, Movies Anywhere, with unusual hooks into the iTunes Store. The app lets people access Disney, Pixar, and Marvel videos from an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The iTunes integration means, however, that it can stream or download videos already bought through the iTunes Store; each movie page also includes links for a preview and buying a movie via iTunes. The app can further be used to redeem digital copies included with Blu-ray and DVD versions of releases.
To encourage people to connect Movies Anywhere to iTunes, Disney is offering a free copy of Pixar's The Incredibles, which normally sells for $20. Every new purchase made through the app earns Disney Movie Rewards points.
The integration is most likely possible because of Apple and Disney's close corporate ties. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was once in charge of Pixar, which (like Marvel Studios) was ultimately bought by Disney. That gave him a place on the Disney board of directors, and he was also the company's biggest individual shareholder. Disney movies and shorts have regularly been featured in Apple advertising and on the iTunes Store; Robert Iger, Disney's CEO, now sits on the Apple board of directors.