Flixster UK closure: users set to lose access to some of their digital films

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Flixster users can finally transfer their digital movies to Google Play – but some will no longer be available, it’s been confirmed.

A brief case of the story so far. Earlier this year, the announcement was made that the UltraViolet digital movies locker service was ceasing operation. This is duly did back in July.

The only service that was left supporting UltraViolet in the UK was Flixster Video, and as such, that’s been the only place people could view their films. Then came the news that Flixster UK was shutting up shop too. Which left users of the service in limbo. Would they still be able to access their movie libraries?

Our full feature on all of this can be found here.

Flixster had announced that users’ collections would migrate to Google Play, and we’ve finally got some proper progress there. It’s uploaded a website that details just how to go about it. At said site, that you can read here, it’s confirmed that the service will shut down on December 18th 2019.

What’s more, you can start transferring movies now.

Sadly, it’s all a bit fiddly. The vast majority of titles will migrate to Google Play, but you have to transfer them one by one yourself. It’s only a couple of button presses per movie, but the onus is very much on you to do this. If you have 200 films to transfer, you’re going to activate them on Google Play individually and in turn.

And beware: there’s a sting and a half in the tail.

If you look next to your list of films, you get an indicator as to whether a film will transfer to Google or not.

Take a look…

On my list of 148 films, there are 12 listed that aren’t supported, which hardly feels like ‘the vast majority’ transferring to me. These include Rebel Without A Cause, the first three Mad Max films, Hidden Figures and the recent  A Star Is Born.

UPDATE: Here’s every legally bought title we know of so far that Flixster UK users are about to lose.

No individual explanation is offered as to why they won’t transfer. Rather, I’m directed to a help page that reads:

“There may be instances where a video in your Flixster Video collection is listed as unavailable for migration to Google Play.  There are several possible reasons for this, including licensing issues with the applicable content provider, the expiration of certain content rights, and that Google Play does not support television content in certain countries.  We have worked hard to ensure that as many Flixster Video titles as possible are available for migration, but unfortunately a relatively small number of titles will not be available. “

So that’s it. Note the sheer brazenness of it. No ‘you’ve lost access to this film, can we offer you another instead’. Rather, they’ve worked hard, but a dozen films that I’ve legally bought aren’t mine to watch anymore. And all I’m offered is a link to customer services, where the onus is on me to follow this up, else come December, that would have been that.

That’s the rub of it, too. Through no fault of a user, they’re going to lose access to films that they’ve legally bought and paid for.

I have contacted Flixster support and will keep you posted as to how UK users will be compensated for the films that – through nothing other than corporate shenanigans – are no longer available.

I’ve now got to go and click on over 100 individual titles to start the transfer process of the films I am allowed to keep. Flixster strongly advises that users start this process as soon as possible.

If users are to have confidence in digital video services, then if they’re sold a film as a digital download, it has to be set in stone that they will have permanent access to it. That’s a flat-out basic, isn’t it?

At least in the VHS days, nobody would ever knock on your door and take your film away. The digital equivalent of that is happening right now.

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