Update: Deletion of purchased content is a glitch, variable availability of movies a ‘feature’ – see below
Some Disney and Pixar movies – including The Lion King and Mater’s Tall Tales – have apparently been pulled from the iTunes Store in the USA and UK, with at least one 9to5Mac reader reporting that purchased movies have been removed from his Apple TV without refund.
Two movies disappeared from my Apple TV yesterday (Mater’s Tall Tales and The Lion King). I called Apple and they told me that Disney has removed them from the iTunes store. They are no longer available for viewing on my Apple TV. There was no warning, no notice and no refund. According to Apple, all digital content belongs to the content provider.
The Lion King is a Disney movie, and Mater’s Tall Tales a Pixar one. Both movies show up on the web, but clicking the View in iTunes button brings up a message saying they are not available.
It would seem unlikely that Disney is pulling its movies from iTunes. Disney CEO Bob Iger is on Apple’s Board, and of course Pixar was a Steve Jobs creation. Also, Disney is often one of the first major studios to adopt Apple technology.
We’ve asked Apple and Disney for a comment, and will update when we know more.
Disney has been in touch to say that while they do vary the availability of movies for streaming, the removal of purchased content is a glitch and Apple is working to resolve it. Those who have already purchased movies will have access to them restored. Disney was not aware of the issue until alerted to it by our story.