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Apple compromising for iTunes rentals?

updated 08:35 am EST, Mon January 7, 2008

Studios for iTunes Rentals

Apple is close to scoring deals with most Hollywood studios but may have had to make significant concessions to get a large catalog of titles for an anticipated launch at Macworld San Francisco, sources have told BusinessWeek. While the movie houses have reportedly dropped attempts to protect DVD sales by insisting on month-long delays between physical and digital releases, Apple has had to raise the prices of new-release features at or near the $17 mark common for many DVDs to receive broader support. Which companies have asked for the tradeoff is unclear, though negotiations are purportedly close to extend or add movie sales and rentals from Lionsgate, Paramount, and Warner in addition to Disney and Fox.

Some of these deals may not be announced at the Macworld keynote due to only partially-settled terms for some of these studios. Others such as Sony are considering the possiblity, though NBC-Universal's continued dispute over TV shows is reportedly precluding Universal Studios movies from showing through the online service. The information points to rentals reaching a relatively fixed price of $4 each for 24 hours.

Much of Apple's impetus is believed to rest in reinvigorating the Apple TV, which is widely known to have undersold since its launch in February due in large part to a lack of suitable content from the iTunes Store. Reports from various media sources have suggested that Apple may switch on the ability to buy or rent movies directly from the Apple TV and therefore eliminate a common complaint about the lack of direct downloads on the media hub.

Movie studio support as a whole is also considered important but may initially prove secondary. Wal-Mart shut down movie sales last month citing poor sales despite being the only digital movie provider to negotiate deals with all major movie studios, though the failure has been informally attributed to Wal-Mart's willingness to abide by strict copy protection rules and to elevate prices to guard its DVD business.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    0

    heck

    I'm not even sure who's foolish enough to pay $15 for a new movie from the iTMS. I would think $17 is way too high. Maybe it's what the MPAA needed to pay the writers a portion of the digital download sales. Yeah, that's it.

    But it's all good. This will help force the studios into understanding that people aren't 100% gullible and will eat whatever they get fed.

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    $4 rental for 24 hours?

    Gee, I have a $9/month Netflix subscription, I can watch as many films as I want and take as long as I need to watch them. Sometimes I can watch a film and have it back in the mail the same day. Other times it takes me 3 weeks to get around to finishing a film and sending it back.

    Not everyone has or will have Netflix, but it's really hard to beat them. I suppose some will go for $4 rentals but I think that's about a buck too high.

  1. simdude

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004

    0

    $4?

    I think $4 for a digital rental is a bit high. I can rent a DVD from those redbox things for $1. Granted, it isn't immediate and the selection is less, but the movies on iTunes are not as good quality as the DVD either. Is there also a problem with surround sound too?

    I love the rental idea. I just hope they can offer for $2. It fits better between the cheap redbox DVD's and places like Blockbuster.

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    0

    Torrents!

    Torrents Torrents Torrents. Don't waste your money people. f*** the movie and music industry!

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000

    0

    $4 aand $17

    I would never buy a $17 movie and I would never pay $4 to rent a movie (I have Netflix, too). So I guess the 'labels' are just going to have to see for themselves that this is WAY too much money by not seeing much in the way of sales. The market place will dictate what happens in the end, always does.

  1. gambit-7

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2001

    0

    iTunes Ecosystem

    As a believer and subscriber to the whole iTunes ecosystem idea, I'd be very much into rentals from iTunes, even as a Netflix subscriber.

    However, not for four dollars for 24 hours. That's bullshit. h***, not even four dollars for 48. If I want to rent a movie, ESPECIALLY from iTunes, I better be able to view it at my leisure, on my Mac, AppleTV, iPod and iPhone (with the option of being able to watch this movie on any iTunes-authorized Mac) for at least three days. At LEAST. For four dollars, it better be at five days.

    NOT 24 hours.

    24 hours don't even make sense with all of the other options out there, including free options.

    And don't even get me started at 17 dollars for a digital file with less quality than a DVD.

    The idea is cool, but Apple is making far too many concessions (according to rumors) for this to be successful like the original iTunes store idea. That 99 cents per song with the ability to download individual tracks was a game-changing, brilliant decision that favored consumers more than it did the industry that spawned the content.

    Obviously the studios aren't willing to make that "mistake" again.

  1. Smurfman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2001

    0

    re: itunes ecosystem

    I agree with yours, and others, comments here.

    $17 to buy a less-than-DVD-quality movie and $4 for a 24 hour rental is ridiculous!!

    I have money saved for the next Apple TV revision and am hoping to buy one right after Macworld. I will be very disappointed is Apple allows movie prices to go up $2-3 and rentals to be sold for only 24 hours at $4 a pop.

    One glimmering possibility is that all content will be HD! I'm sure they will announce something along these lines. iTunes has needed HD content for quite a while. The Apple TV has been ready for it as long as it's been around.

    What better time to release an iTunes HD movie/rental store. I still wouldn't pay $4 for a 24-hour rental, but $17 for true HD is a little more palatable.

    Problem is, on my connection at home, it may take 24 hours to download the HD movie. :-(

  1. TheBum

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Sep 2001

    0

    $17 would be warranted if

    ...the movies came out at 16:9 720p. I agree that $17 is too much for DVD quality, let alone current iTunes quality, especially considering the extras you get for the same price with physical DVDs.

  1. gambit-7

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2001

    0

    re: smurfman

    Good call on that '17 dollars only if it's in HD' idea. Anything otherwise is a waste in general and a waste for Apple; anything less and they shouldn't even really bother trying to pitch the idea. It won't fly well with most consumers (except the most hardcore) and it'll only lead up to stories in 2008 along the lines of: Apple's new ventures are failing!! Everybody PANIC!!

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002

    0

    Torrents!

    why stop there? you think a coke or pepsi - sugared water - is worth what they charge? steal it! show some balls, walk into that store and grab some and leave! f*** 'em! c'mon man, show those melons! h***, everything is overpriced! steal it all! f*** 'em all!

    or maybe you don't really have any balls and are just using that tired old argument so you can justify your looting...? i mean, it used to be just music but now it's movies too? oh dear.



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