Skip to main content

Disney shutters Disney Movies Online

At the same time that the Walt Disney Company launches a new Video on Demand service in Europe, it has confirmed that its existing American VOD service, Disney Movies Online, is to close for business at the end of the year. Mixed messages, or a sign that Disney is taking Video on Demand more seriously than it used to?

Disney announced a new partnership with Spanish company yesterday that will give subscribers of the latter what’s being described as “a selection of some of the world’s most loved Disney and Disney/Pixar movies” under the umbrella title Disney Movies on Demand. According to Walt Disney Spain & Portugal manager Simon Amselem, “Launching a Disney-branded SVOD movie library service in Spain is a logical next step in our distribution strategy, complementing our existing agreements with other linear and non-linear broadcasters and platforms,” with CEO Jacinto Roca describing the partnership as being “in line with’s priority of pioneering the best premium content distribution via the Internet, allowing consumers to choose what they see, when they want to see it, directly on their TV or game console.”

The partnership with is Disney’s second such deal recently, following a similar deal with Zon in Portugal. Here in the US, however, you could be forgiven for thinking that Disney was pulling away from the VOD space with the December closure of its three-year-old service Disney Movies Online, which allowed customers to purchase or stream Disney and Pixar content online. Initially leaked as a rumor, confirmation came in the form of a message that appeared on the Disney Movies Online website, telling customers that the site will close on December 31, although purchases, upgrades and “Magic Code entries” have already been disabled in advance of the closure (Refunds can be requested by email, it explained for those who wanted them).

In a statement about the closure, Disney explained that “The digital environment is rapidly evolving, and Disney Movies Online does not have the flexibility that many users today demand. We made a business decision to close the service until we are able to provide the greatest value and experience to our customers.”

The company is already working on the replacement for the service, which is currently called Disney Movies Anywhere, although sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that the Disney Movies Online closure shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Disney Movies Anywhere is necessarily anywhere close to launching. One of the changes between the two services is that DMA is expected to include multiple devices in its streaming package, as opposed to DMO’s reliance on a web browser, although it may also be worth considering the possibility for DMA to offer more than just Disney or Pixar-branded entertainment. After all, Disney does now own both Marvel and Lucasfilm, and both of those may be an enticement to sign up for many people…

Editors' Recommendations

Graeme McMillan
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A transplant from the west coast of Scotland to the west coast of America, Graeme is a freelance writer with a taste for pop…
5 Dwayne Johnson movies you need to watch in August
Jungle Cruise stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt on a boat.

Dwayne Johnson's star power may not shine as brightly as it used to, but he remains one of the most popular actors on the planet, and his films still grab people's attention.
While there's still some time left in everyone's summer, audiences should sit back and see what's cooking in these five movies featuring the Rock.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Read more
Superhero movies aren’t events anymore
Marvel's heroes charge into battle in Avengers: Endgame.

Somewhere, Lex Luthor is smiling. Superheroes, the bane of his villainous existence, are having a rough year at the multiplex. The Flash stumbled hard. Shazam! Fury of the Gods fizzled. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opened big, then fell fast. Will Blue Beetle reverse the trend? The $30 million it's expected to make this weekend isn't so bad for a film originally intended to go straight to streaming, but still pretty dire for something that cost four times that.

Not every splash panel spectacle has underperformed. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 made about what its predecessors did, while Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is as successful commercially as it is creatively. But even those hits have been dramatically outgrossed by the likes of The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Barbie — just as last year's crop of comic book fare fell very shy of the numbers posted by Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water.

Read more
What is Disney Plus: plans, price, and everything else you should know
The Disney Plus app interface on a smart TV.

Despite launching in November of 2019, Disney Plus has become a leading stalwart in the streaming service space. Boasting one of the best libraries of movies and TV shows around -- including some of the best original series from the likes of the MCU and Star Wars franchises -- Disney+ has shot up to 129.8 million subscribers worldwide as of February 2022. That puts it toe to toe with the likes of Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and others.

Despite a library that isn't quite as large as Netflix, Disney+ makes up for it in quality. It's the exclusive streaming platform for a significant portion of Disney's massive content archive and the only place to see new originals like Andor, Obi-wan Kenobi, The Mandalorian, Hawkeye, and WandaVision. Plus, with content from National Geographic and deals that can also net you Hulu and ESPN+ for one price, Disney+ is a formidable service.

Read more