Movie studios join Disney-led service to link digital purchases

The signage at the main gate of The Walt Disney Co. is pictured in Burbank, California, May 7, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Five Hollywood film studios have joined together to offer a new service designed to make it easier for consumers to collect digital movies that they can watch at home or on mobile devices, the studios said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Movies Anywhere service was developed by Walt Disney Co to provide a single app and website where customers can find movies they have purchased from a variety of retailers.

Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures, Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's 20th Century Fox and Sony Corp's <6758.T> Sony Pictures Entertainment have signed on to the effort, the statement said.

Hollywood's movie studios are looking for ways to encourage digital sales of movies after they leave theaters in order to help make up for the decline in popularity of physical DVDs.

The free Movies Anywhere service, launched in the United States on Wednesday, initially will allow users to access movies purchased from Apple Inc's iTunes, Amazon.com Inc's Amazon Video, Alphabet Inc's Google Play and Wal-Mart Stores Inc's Vudu. Other retailers and studios may join in the future.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)