Movies Anywhere Launches on Verizon Fios

Movies Anywhere — the digital movie collection app — is now available to Verizon Fios TV customers.

Media Play News first reported the impending deal Sept. 25.

Fios TV customers with purchased movie titles from participating studios — Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios (encompassing Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment — can collect their library on Movies Anywhere.

Movies purchased from other participating digital retailers, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu/Walmart, Google Play/YouTube, Microsoft Movies & TV, and Fandango Now, will also be available for playback through Verizon Fios.

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To join Movies Anywhere, Fios customers can:

  • visit com/moviesanywhere or MoviesAnywhere.com to sign up for a free Movies Anywhere account;
  • connect Fios and other participating digital retailer accounts;
  • see eligible purchased and redeemed movies appear on Movies Anywhere and on all synced accounts;
  • go to “My Stuff” to watch on Fios TV On Demand; and
  • continue to grow their library by purchasing eligible movies on Fios On Demand through their set-top-box, online, the Fios TV app or by selecting Verizon through the Movies Anywhere website or app for mobile and connected TV devices.

 

Movies Anywhere is a free app that lets consumer bring their purchased digital movies from various digital retailers into one place.

Mob Drama ‘The Kitchen’ Due on Digital Oct. 22, Disc Nov. 5 From Warner

The female-driven mob drama The Kitchen arrives on digital (including Movies Anywhere) Oct. 22 and Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 5 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Based on the Vertigo comic book series from DC Entertainment, the film stars Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Tammy), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, Night School) and Elisabeth Moss (TV’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” TV’s “Mad Men”) as three 1978 Hell’s Kitchen housewives whose mobster husbands are sent to prison by the FBI. The three women take business into their own hands by running the rackets and taking out the competition.

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The film, which earned $12.2 million in domestic theaters, is written and directed by Andrea Berloff, who was nominated for an Oscar for Original Screenplay for Straight Outta Compton.

Extras on Blu-ray include “Running Hell’s Kitchen,” “Taking Over the Neighborhood,” and a deleted scene. “Running Hell’s Kitchen” is included on the DVD.

Movies Anywhere Adding Eighth Retail Partner, Rolling Out Ad Campaign as Users Hit 8 Million

As Movies Anywhere approaches its second anniversary in October, the movie library collection service boasts 8 million registered users; 7,800 titles; and 200 million movies stored — and it is poised to add an eighth retail partner, Verizon.

Movies Anywhere GM Karin Gilford noted these milestones during a presentation at the Entertainment Merchants Association’s OTT_X@Pipeline 2019 conference in Los Angeles Sept. 25.

Retail partnerships, such as the new deal with Verizon, are important to improving the overall experience, she said.

“On a day to day basis, we are working with them so that how we connect to the overall ecosystem is smooth,” she said.

Details on the Verizon pact are to come.

A key mission of the Movies Anywhere is to “drive purchasing habits,” she said.

“We want to drive transactions, obviously, but we want to make it a habit,” Gilford said. “We want to make it fun to build a collection. We want to have a great place to house that collection. We want make it really accessible everywhere you are.”

Service research shows that “once people use Movies Anywhere … they buy more movies,” she said.

The service has recently stepped up marketing.

“We launched a new advertising campaign that just kicked off a couple of weeks ago,” she said.

The campaign has rolled out on TV/OTT (cable channels via Simulmedia, Roku, FireTV); in theaters (via National CineMedia); in airports (LAX, JFK digital signage plus the Boingo wifi service); and online channels including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. An advertorial campaign is rolling out through October on channels such as Vox, Fandom and Twitch.

The blitz is designed to plant a flag in an increasingly crowded digital entertainment universe.

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“We want to establish [Movies Anywhere] as differentiated from the SVOD services that are coming,” Gilford said, alluding to the impending launches of Disney+ and Apple TV+, among others.

 

Movies Anywhere welcome page

Gilford showed the new 30-second spot for the service, as well as aspects of the welcome page.

The service designed the welcome page to greet consumers with “a really conversational approach,” she said and to make clear what Movies Anywhere provides.

“A lot of consumers don’t understand the economics and the business models that power the entertainment industry,” she said. “Why do you have to have ads in these episodes? Wait, all of these movies aren’t free? Those things do still come up even in 2019, and so it is really important, especially for something like Movies Anywhere, to be very clear about what we’re doing, what type of content is in here and what the mission is.”

The service has added new features, including 4K with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos,  and a “Deals” section that calls out special offers from partner studios and retailers. The “Deals” feature came out of an analysis of data from the service showing a usage spike when there were special offers in the marketplace.

Movies Anywhere is also using data to inform studios about usage patterns in a way previously unavailable and is beginning to use data to customize the user experience.

“Studios having visibility into that data is going to make for a more powerful home entertainment business and a more powerful EST business,” she said.

While Movies Anywhere is backed by several major studios (Disney, Fox, Sony, Universal and Warner)  prominently featured on the welcome page, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate are not part of the service, which also does not feature television programming.

Retail partners include iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Walmart’s Vudu, Xfinity, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and FandangoNow.

Comcast Offering Xfinity Flex (Including Movies Anywhere) Free to Subscribers

Comcast Cable earlier this year launched Xfinity Flex, a $5 monthly add-on streaming platform enabling broadband-only subscribers easier access to online content apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Now, among others.

Comcast is now offering Flex free to broadband subs, providing new and existing customers with the ability to access third-party streaming services and manage their connected home devices right on the TV.

Xfinity Flex leverages X1 technology with an Internet-connected, 4K UHD streaming TV device, Xfinity voice remote, a redesigned guide, and more than 10,000 free movies and TV shows.

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The Flex set-top box is included, along with the Xfinity Voice Remote, as part of an Xfinity Internet-only subscription. Additional boxes will be available to lease for $5 per month per box (limit of two boxes per customer).

“Xfinity Flex gives customers a radically simple, aggregated television experience that personalizes their streaming choices across a sea of apps and services,” Matt Strauss, EVP, Xfinity Services, Comcast Cable, said in a statement.

Xfinity Flex’s myriad features include:

• A personalized guide with universal voice control, featuring a new home page with live, immersive tiles that help customers quickly get back into what they were watching;

• A new “Free to Me” destination where customers can easily browse more than 10,000 free movies and TV shows, and live streaming including live news and sports, from networks such as ESPN3, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Xumo, Cheddar, YouTube, Sky News, in addition to all the content included with their streaming subscriptions from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Showtime, EPIX, Sling International and soon Peacock and Hulu;

• A new grid guide that compiles available live programming across networks and apps, and a curated destination for everything new to the platform;

• The ability to rent and purchase thousands of movies and shows from the digital store and access their digital lockers across platforms by pairing their account with home entertainment studios’ Movies Anywhere;

• The ability to browse and listen to music from Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and XITE using the voice remote;

• The ability to upgrade to Xfinity TV on X1 from the guide later this year, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR;

• Xfinity Flex also provides customers with an easy way to better manage, control and enjoy the connected home by enabling them to easily access their entertainment, find their wi-fi password, see what devices are connected to their network, set parental controls, and evenpause wi-fi access on their home network;

• Subs also can use voice control to access their camera feeds, arm or disarm their home security system and find their Xfinity Mobile phone — all on the TV.

“Today’s Internet customers need more than speed … simplified control of their connected home, and the best streaming experience,” Strauss said. “With Xfinity xFi and Xfinity Flex, we are including all of that and more with our Internet service, all in one place, on the best screen in the home.”

Actioner ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Speeds to Digital Oct. 15, Disc Nov. 5 Including 4K

The actioner Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw will come out on digital Oct. 15 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Nov. 5 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Franchise favorites Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, Skyscraper, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham, The Meg, Spy) forge an unlikely partnership that provides fresh insight into their backstories with action across the globe, from Los Angeles to London and from the toxic wasteland of Chernobyl to Samoa. For years, hulking lawman Hobbs and lawless outcast Shaw have traded smack talk and body blows. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton Lorr (Idris Elba, Thor: Ragnarok, The Dark Tower) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever, Hobbs and Shaw must partner up to bring him down.

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Joining the cast as Shaw’s sister Hattie is Vanessa Kirby (Mission: Impossible-Fallout, “The Crown”).

Directed by David Leitch from a story by longtime “Fast & Furious” franchise narrative architect Chris Morgan and a screenplay by Morgan and Drew Pearce (Mission: Impossible – Rogue NationIron Man 3), Hobbs & Shaw is produced by Johnson, Statham, Morgan and Hiram Garcia (SkyscraperRampage).

The film has earned more than $680 million at the global box office.

Hobbs & Shaw features more than 80 minutes (on digital, 4K UHD, Blu-ray) of bonus content, including an alternate opening; deleted, extended and alternate scenes; several featurettes with the filmmakers and cast that take fans further into the story; and an audio commentary by Leitch.

The 4K UHD version includes dynamic metadata feature HDR10+. The digital version is available on Movies Anywhere.

Movies Anywhere to Support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos Beginning With ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and Other Titles July 30

Movies Anywhere will begin supporting Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound beginning with the July 30 digital release of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame.

Consumers who have purchased 4K Ultra HD titles from participating digital retailers or are activating a Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD digital code will be able to stream in these entertainment experiences using Movies Anywhere on connected TVs.

Recently released titles Alita: Battle Angel from Twentieth Century Fox, Aquaman and Pokémon Detective Pikachu from Warner Bros., and Miss Bala from Sony Pictures Entertainment will also be available in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos July 30.

Additional previously released films from Movies Anywhere-backed studios are also being added and will be available throughout the summer and into the fall.

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“We will always strive to deliver the best playback technology possible for movie purchasers who are passionate about quality,” said Karin Gilford, GM, Movies Anywhere, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos deliver an exceptional home viewing experience, while staying true to filmmakers’ creative intent and vision. This is part of our ongoing commitment to super serve movie fans with the films they love, when, where and how they want to watch them.”

Dolby Vision offers high dynamic range 4K experiences, with increased brightness, contrast, color and detail, according to Movies Anywhere, while Dolby Atmos offers moving audio that flows all around listeners.

Zombie Comedy ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ Rises on Digital Sept. 3, Disc Sept. 10 From Universal

The zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die will stalk to digital (including Movies Anywhere) Sept. 3 and Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Sept. 10 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Directed by indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, the film stars Bill Murray (Olive Kitteridge, Lost in Translation, Ghostbusters), Adam Driver (Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, BlacKkKlansman) and Chloë Sevigny (“The Act,” Boys Don’t Cry) alongside an ensemble cast that includes Tilda Swinton (SuspiriaTrainwreck), Steve Buscemi (Hotel Transylvania Series, Fargo), Danny Glover (Proud MaryLethal Weapon Series), Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriGet Out), Rosie Perez (“Pure,” White Men Can’t Jump), Iggy Pop (Gimme DangerCoffee and Cigarettes), Sara Driver (Stranger than Paradise), RZA (“Snowfall,” The Man with the Iron Fists 2), Selena Gomez (Hotel Transylvania Series, Spring Breakers), Carol Kane (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Dog Day Afternoon), Austin Butler (The Intruders, “Arrow”), Luka Sabbat (“Grown-ish”) and Tom Waits (The Ballad of Buster ScruggsThe Book of Eli).

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In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behavior. No one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing the town. The dead rise from their graves and savagely attack and feast on the living — and the citizens must battle for their survival.

Bonus features on Blu-ray, DVD and digital include “Bill Murray: Zombie Hunting Action Star,” in which Murray discusses his fear of being typecast as an action hero; “Behind-the-Scenes of The Dead Don’t Die”; and “Stick Together,” in which Jarmusch’s frequent collaborators talk about his filmmaking style and what makes The Dead Don’t Die stand out from other zombie films.

Disney to Bow Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ and Animated Classic on Digital Aug. 27, Disc Sept. 10 Including 4K

The live-action adaptation of the animated classic Aladdin lands in homes on digital HD and 4K (including Movies Anywhere) Aug. 27 and 4K Ultra HD disc, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 10 from Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.

At the same time, the original animated classic Aladdin will come out on digital HD and 4K (including Movies Anywhere) Aug. 27 and 4K Ultra HD disc, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 10, joining the Walt Disney Signature Collection. Aladdin is the 10th title to join the classic collection.

Starring Will Smith, Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud, the live action film, which earned $341.9 million at the domestic box office, follows the tale of the lovable “street rat” Aladdin (Massoud), courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine (Scott), and the larger-than-life Genie (Smith).

The digital presell includes the bonus feature “Make Way for Prince Ali,” a look at the design of the scene in the movie. As a digital exclusive bonus, consumers get “Speechless: Creating a New Song for Jasmine,” about the song written especially for the live-action film.

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Other bonus features for the live-action film on Blu-ray and digital include:

  • “Aladdin’s Video Journal: A New Fantastic Point of View,” featuring behind-the-scenes moments captured by Massoud (Aladdin);
  • the deleted song “Desert Moon,” a duet performed by Jasmine and Aladdin, fully shot and edited, with an introduction by composer Alan Menken;
  • “Guy Ritchie: A Cinematic Genie,” about the director;
  • “A Friend Like Genie,” about Smith’s performance;
  • deleted scenes;
  • bloopers;
  • and music videos for “Speechless” performed by Naomi Scott, “A Whole New World” performed by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward, and “A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) performed by ZAYN and Becky G.

 

The animated classic Aladdin Blu-ray and digital releases include 40 bonus features from previous releases as well as new features:

  • “Sing Along With the Movie,” with on-screen lyrics;
  • “Aladdin on Aladdin,” featuring the speaking voice of Aladdin, Scott Weinger (“Fuller House”), as he reflects on almost 30 years of being Aladdin;
  • “Let’s Not Be Too Hasty: The Voices of Aladdin,”about the voice actors;
  • and alternate endings.

 

A digital exclusive bonus is “Drawing Genie,” following animator Eric Goldberg as he draws and reminisces about the Genie.

Disney Names Justin Connolly President of Media Distribution, Combines Units

The Walt Disney Co. will combine all of its media sales and channel distribution into one organization under Justin Connolly, who has been named president of Media Distribution. Based in New York, Connolly will report to Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment.

Connolly’s appointment comes just days after the abrupt departure of Disney veteran Janice Marinelli from her position as president of Global Content Sales & Distribution for The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) segment, ending a 34-year career at the media giant.

“By combining all of our media, affiliate, content and syndication sales, and distribution efforts into the Direct-to-Consumer and International segment, we continue to transform the ways in which we distribute the great stories and characters created by The Walt Disney Company’s studios and media networks,” said Mayer in a statement. “I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Justin for many years and believe his experience makes him well-suited to drive Disney’s media sales and distribution efforts. He is a consummate professional, a fantastic dealmaker, and a great leader.”

“I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the industry’s best multi-platform sales and distribution teams,” said Connolly in a statement. “Through our combined efforts we will achieve the company’s vision for an even stronger, more agile organization that is better able to pivot and capitalize on the many opportunities present in today’s fast-changing and increasingly complex global marketplace.”

In his new role, Connolly will spearhead global app distribution deals for Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming services — including Disney+, ESPN+ and Movies Anywhere. Connolly will also be responsible for the distribution of film and television programming via home entertainment, broadcasting platforms, digital platforms, SVOD and pay networks.

He will continue to oversee all aspects of North American distribution, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for all the services provided by Disney and ESPN media networks including, among other services: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FX, FXX, FXM, National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild, and related WATCH, HDTV, video-on-demand, interactive television and retransmission consent agreements for Disney’s eight-owned ABC stations. He will also continue to have oversight of the ABC Affiliate Relations and Marketing team.

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To ensure alignment between content licensing and direct-to-consumer priorities, a Disney release stated Connolly will work closely with DTCI’s international content sales teams who now report directly into their respective regional leaders. Connolly will have final approval on all content sales agreements for Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Animation, Disneynature, ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, National Geographic, FX Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, WABC, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior.

Connolly previously served as EVP, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks — overseeing all aspects of domestic distribution, ABC affiliate relations, affiliate marketing and affiliate-related business operations for all the services provided by Disney and ESPN media networks. In June 2017, he added oversight of ESPN’s strategy and business development teams to his portfolio.

Prior to that, Connolly served as SVP, college networks, and under his direction, SEC Network was the most successful network launch in cable history. Before working with the college networks, Connolly served as SVP, national accounts for Disney & ESPN Media Networks. He was responsible for all domestic distribution and licensing efforts for Disney’s linear networks, broadband and VOD content within the Media Networks Group.

He joined ESPN in 2003 and served in various capacities including director, ESPN strategy and operations, where he helped ESPN with its long-term affiliate negotiations. In August 2004 he was promoted to VP, distribution strategy. Prior to joining ESPN, Connolly worked in the corporate finance group for Disney’s corporate treasury department in Burbank, Calif.

Connolly, a Boston native, graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 1998 and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2003.

Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment includes Disney’s international media operations stretching from Europe to Asia to Latin America and the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming businesses, including Hulu, Hotstar, ESPN+, and the upcoming Disney+ service set to debut in the United States Nov. 12. DTCI also houses global advertising sales and ad technology for Disney media properties, which include ABC, ESPN, Freeform, FX Networks, National Geographic, and the Disney Channels. The company’s media distribution operations — including global distribution of film and TV content to Disney+, Hulu and other third-party platforms, as well as Movies Anywhere — are also part of the Direct-to-Consumer & International business segment.

Janice Marinelli Leaving The Walt Disney Company

In a surprise move, Janice Marinelli July 16 announced that she will step down from her role as president of Global Content Sales & Distribution for The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International (DTCI) segment, ending a 34-year career at the media giant.

Marinelli previously headed Disney’s home entertainment operations, which she continued to oversee in her latest role, which she assumed in December 2018.

Industry sources had anticipated a big announcement from Disney on July 15, with speculation that Marinelli on that date would announce the new home entertainment team behind both Disney and 20th Century Fox product. Longtime Fox home entertainment chief Mike Dunn left shortly after the March 20 completion of the merger, while James Finn, one of the division’s two top marketers, announced his departure earlier this month. Julia Howe, the other top home entertainment marketing executive, is still there, sources said.

“It has been an honor to work for this company and a privilege to work with so many outstanding professionals,” Marinelli said in a statement. “I’ve observed many changes in our industry over the years, and it is changing at a speed never seen before. While I have been considering this decision for some time, I was committed to seeing our team through the acquisition and integration of 21st Century Fox. Now that we’ve reached these important milestones, I believe the time is right for me to step down.”

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At the December 2017 Video Hall of Fame ceremony in Beverly Hills, Marinelli drew solid applause — and more than a few chuckles — when she advised her fellow home entertainment executives to “just keep swimming.” As Media Play News observed at the time, “The line, from the hit Disney film Finding Nemo, seemed to resonate with the several hundred execs in the room, many of whom have been contending with increasingly choppy seas for the better part of a decade.”

Kevin Mayer, chairman of DTCI, said Marinelli contributed “immeasurably” to Disney over the past three decades architecting and successfully negotiating “thousands of innovative” deals that benefited the company.

“I am so grateful for her insightful counsel and steadfast collaboration over the past year as we laid the foundation for DTCI and the upcoming launch of Disney+,” Mayer said. “I especially appreciate her willingness to stay on and see us through this time of tremendous change.”

As president of Global Content Sales & Distribution for Disney’s DTCI segment, Marinelli oversaw Disney’s program sales operations and distribution of the company’s direct-to-consumer apps to global accounts and broadcasters worldwide. She led the global distribution of film and television programming via home entertainment, broadcasting platforms, digital platforms, SVOD, pay networks, Hulu, the Movies Anywhere app and the upcoming Disney-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service Disney+.

Marinelli’s sales and distribution teams worked across domestic and international media markets by providing high-quality content created by Disney’s Studio Entertainment and Media Networks groups.

Under her direction, the division distributed properties from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Animation, Disneynature, ABC Studios, ABC Entertainment, National Geographic, FX Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, WABC, Freeform, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior to broadcasters, digital services and other distributors around the world.

Marinelli and her team gave consumers in domestic and international home entertainment media markets myriad viewing choices while providing the most compelling and entertaining films in the industry.

Fueled by the studio’s box office success, the division implemented new technologies and created a superior in-home viewing experience for its customers to drive both digital and physical ownership.

She also oversaw product development and marketing strategies for Disney’s portfolio of brands and franchises across all in-home platforms. Most recently, the in-home division vigorously expanded into the 4K UHD premium format and her team also managed the re-releases of the powerhouse classic titles from the vault as part of The Walt Disney Signature Collection.

As the architect and dealmaker behind Movies Anywhere, Marinelli drove the development of the free app and website that has revolutionized digital ownership by bringing the film libraries of five studios together in a virtual one-stop movie-watching shop.

After Marinelli and her team successfully launched Disney Movies Anywhere in 2017, she subsequently brokered deals with Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. to join the initiative to transform digital movie purchase and engagement. She also spearheaded negotiations with digital retailers including Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, FandangoNow, Microsoft Movies & TV, and Comcast Xfinity.

Marinelli joined Disney’s Buena Vista Television in 1985 as an account executive. She later served as director of sales, western division before assuming the role of senior vice president of sales. She was named executive vice president in 1996 and president in 1999. Marinelli was appointed as president of Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution in 2013 and was promoted to her role with DTCI in 2018.