Is $9.99 too much for Apple iTunes’ first full-length movie download?

“Apple has started selling the first full-length movie through its iTunes media store. The Disney television movie High School Musical is offered at $9.99, after being briefly available for $1.99,” Tom Sanders writes for “The movie was a hit when first broadcast on the Disney Channel, attracting an audience of 7.7 million viewers. But iTunes users have complained about the movie’s relatively high price and limited resolution. While the download costs as much as a regular DVD, it offers only a limited resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and none of the bonus features typically found on a DVD.”

Full article here.

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Related articles:
Apple jacks price of first full-length iTunes Store movie from $1.99 to $9.99 – March 15, 2006
Apple offers first full-length movie for sale via iTunes Store – March 14, 2006


  1. $1.99 is a great price for TV episodes and music videos – I’ve bought a bunch of episodes of Battlestar Galactica myself and it works great.

    However, $9.99 for a full-length movie at 320×240 resolution is a bit much, IMHO. At that resolution, I would be happy to pay $4.99 for the convenience if not the quality.

    $9.99 should be reserved for HDTV quality downloads. I think Apple could make loads of money by offering tiered pricing based on quality, including songs. For example, $0.99 is the perfect price for song downloads at 128 kbps AAC, but I think quite a lot of people would pay $1.49 for an Apple Lossless version of that song. Same with movies.

  2. Considering the price of a new DVD, this price is too high. However, just as I wouldn’t buy other things that I consider too expensive, I won’t buy this one and I won’t complain about it.

  3. No doubt. $9.99 is ridiculous for this joke of a movie. If it were “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” movie for $9.99 (another Disney production), even at 320×240, I think it’s a fair price.

    Would I prefer cheaper? Of course. Is it likely to see full-length movies for less than $10. Doubt it.

  4. An observation in support of $4.99 pricing for feature length movies.

    A TV episode of “Lost” or “Battlestar Galactica” is about 40 minutes without the commercials. A feature-length film last 100 minutes to 120 minutes.

    So if 40 minutes = $1.99, then $4.99 for a feature-length film at 320×240 quality seems like it’s the sweet spot.

    Even if you don’t ever buy a movie at $9.99, I think it will be helpful to let the powers that be know that we consumers aren’t stupid.

  5. $9.99 is an absurd price point. Much too high. DVD prices are dropping and resolution is a big factor for many people. Apple should really think this through and then unleash it on the public. Putting out 1 film and then changing the price irritates the media and the customers and seems like a bad way to begin the rollout of the iTunes Movie Store. Come on Apple, you can do much better than this amateurish stunt.

  6. I would never pay $9.99 for a downloaded movie that I would have to invest time and money to burn on to a blank CD with makeshift cases and printed covers, etc. I’d much rather own a retail DVD that I can have all the extra stuff on and studio-quality printed materials. I just don’t see the market on this. I really don’t. It just perpetuates piracy including, but not limited to, people making movie copies for 10 friends or extended family members, all in violation of federal law. Thou shall not steal includes BITS and BYTES also my friends. Bottom line is it’s too much to pay unless you plan on duplicating illegally.

  7. For that movie absolutely.

    For a 320×240 movie yes. $5 makes more sense.

    For an NTSC res movie $9.99 is just right, except that crappy first offering isn’t worth more than $1.99 even in hi-def.

    Hi-def movies I would look at $14.99-$19.99. Too bad we don’t have the bandwidth to download those yet.

  8. Apple better be testing the water with price points, otherwise, my recent suspicions may be correct. Is Apple out of steam?

    If a TV show is worth $1.99 for 30-minutes to an hour (actually, about 21-minutes to 40-minutes), why is a 90-minute movie worth five times the money?

    Answer? It’s not. It’s not worth it. $9.99 is waaaaay over priced because at 320×240 resolution it’s not competitive with DVDs, which offer more of everything (higher quality, more features, better value).

    What is Apple doing? Are they telling us that we won’t get online, full-length, first-rate movies for $2.99, or $4.99? Is this a test or the shape of things to come, or simply the best that Apple can do? Maybe the problem is the content providers.

    I’m content to wait a few more weeks until Apple’s 30th anniversary “surprise” package. It needs to be a good one. I’m thinking iBooks called MacBook with Intel Inside. Larger iPod with video. Online movie downloads from revamped iTMS. iPhone and iPad (wireless video iPod with OS X inside).

    If most of that doesn’t show up soon, it’s going to be a rocky year for AAPL.

    Tera Patricks

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