Movies Anywhere, a previously Disney-backed app that lets users access their digitally owned movie collection from across services, is shutting down two features, “Screen Pass” and “Watch Together.”
Screen Pass, which launched in 2020, allows you to loan out three movies per month within the app, which recipients can then watch for up to 72 hours. Starting on May 1, users will no longer be able to share their purchased movies with friends and family. Cord Cutters News first noted the change.
“At Movies Anywhere, we are continually making changes to the website and app to help our users enjoy and grow their collections,” the company wrote on its website. “As the experience continues to evolve, we want to notify you that effective May 1, users will no longer be able to use the Screen Pass feature to send a Screen Pass. For Screen Passes sent prior to May 1, recipients will still be able to accept and finish watching the movie before their passes expire. As of June 1, the Screen Pass feature will no longer be supported.
In a separate post, Movies Anywhere announced that it would also be shutting down its “Watch Together” feature on June 1. Essentially a watch party capability, the feature is a synced viewing experience where you can send a room code or URL to up to nine friends to watch the same movie together at the same time.
The company didn’t state an exact reason for ending these features but said that it would focus on experiences that its users “are most passionate about,” which includes expanding their movie collections and watching titles across multiple platforms. Basically, it sounds like not enough people were using Screen Pass or Watch Together.
TechCrunch reached out to Movies Anywhere for comment.
While co-viewing and movie sharing were once popular trends, especially during the pandemic, more people are going back to the movie theaters or having IRL watch parties in their homes. According to media measurement and analytics company Comscore, the 2023 box office topped $958 million in ticket sales as of February 27, compared to $98.7 million in 2021.
Also, the digital movie space just isn’t as trendy anymore and streaming services are getting their moment in the spotlight. The streaming market is a nearly $60 billion business, with giants like Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max catering to millions of subscribers.
Movies Anywhere (formerly Disney Movies Anywhere) launched in 2014 and gives digital movie collectors a single hub where they can access all the movies they bought on iTunes, Vudu, Prime Video, YouTube and Xfinity, among other services. In 2017, it became jointly operated by Disney, Universal, WB, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox.
It’s most recent feature to launch was “My Lists,” an AI-powered feature that rolled out in 2021. My Lists automatically organizes movies together based on genre, cast, franchise and so on.