updated 05:07 pm EDT, Wed August 15, 2012
Could improve movie selection at iTunes, Google Play
HBO and Fox have renewed a rights agreement originally set to expire in 2015, AllThingsD reports. Under the new deal, Fox movies will continue appearing on HBO until 2022. More importantly, however, Fox and HBO officials say that the agreement includes a "softening" of something known as the electronic sell-through window. Previously HBO maintained a strict policy that while it was running a movie for the first time, no one else could sell or rent a title electronically.
Under the new terms, Fox will be able to sell movies -- but not rent them -- on digital storefronts at the same time as a first HBO run. The change should improve the selection of movies on services like iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Instant Video, which in the past have been forced to temporarily pull content to satisfy HBO. With precedent set, it's likely that other studios will be able to open up sales as well.
Sources for ATD indicate that no purely digital parties put in a bid for the rights, such as Apple, Google, or Netflix. They add that the deal should impact movies currently subject to the old rules, such as X-Men: First Class, which should appear on the iTunes Store shortly.