Apple prepares debut of full-length feature films via iTunes Store in time for 2006 holiday season

“Consumers have been willing to spend 99 cents to buy Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ or $1.99 for an episode of ‘Desperate Housewives’ from iTunes,” Laura M. Holson and Eduardo Porter report for The New York Times. “Now Steven P. Jobs is betting they will also pay $9.99 to download ‘The Godfather’ to play on their iPods.”

“For weeks, Apple Computer has been talking with executives at all the major studios — including the Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers and Universal Studios — about adding movies to its popular iTunes music store, several people involved in the negotiations said,” Holson and Porter report.

“Mr. Jobs, who is Apple’s chief executive, has been participating in the negotiations and telling studio executives in Los Angeles that he wants to have a deal in place by the fall, people involved in the negotiations said,”: Holson and Porter report. “Disney, which was the first studio to put some TV shows (like “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives”) on iTunes, is also expected to be the first to put some movies on Apple’s online service, the people involved in the talks said.”

“People involved in the negotiations said there were several potential snags, including fears about piracy and Mr. Jobs’s proposal to charge a flat price of $9.99 for movies already sold on DVD,” Holson and Porter report. “Under Mr. Jobs’s proposed plan, there will be several prices for movies, depending on when they have their debut on iTunes. The prices have not yet been determined, but some studios are worried about releasing movies too close to their theatrical release dates.”

“The reports of Apple’s discussions with movie studios have renewed speculation that Apple is preparing to offer a living room-oriented entertainment device later this year, in time for the Christmas season,” Holson and Porter report.

Full article here.

“Some Hollywood studios have also been talking to Microsoft about licensing movies for use with the company’s upcoming portable digital device, the Wall Street Journal said. The company hopes to launch an iPod competitor, which could hit the market as soon as the fourth quarter of this year,” Reuters reports.

Full article here.

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Related articles:
Report: Movie studios flatly reject Apples’ proposed $9.99 pricing for feature films via iTunes – June 19, 2006
Report: Apple in negotiations with movie studios; $9.99 feature films coming to iTunes soon? – June 19, 2006

25 Comments

  1. I can’t help but wonder if it’s Apple that leaked the details of the negotiations. After all, it makes the movie studios look bad. “Apple wants to give you all $9.99 movie goodness, but those evil greedy movie studios want to price the stuff you actually want higher!!” Nothing like a little adverse publicity to force a negotiator’s hand.

    Example: Here in Akron, we have a scenic railroad that every Christmas runs a special service for kids based on the book “The Polar Express”. Recently, the company that owned that book was purchased by a bigger company who tried to put the screws to the park service for a big license fee. The park service couldn’t afford it, so no more special Christmas train rides for the kiddies. The local radio, TV, and papers were full of stories of the evil Grinch media company breaking the hearts of every child in the county. Well, surprise, surprise — just last week, I heard the media company had a change of heart.

  2. Couple of things:

    1. If it’s not HD quality, or at least DVD quality, forget it.
    2. If I can’t easily play it on my TV (like…with video AirportExpress), forget it.
    3. If it’s not a subscription service like Netflix…totally forget it.

  3. I think that downloading music is OK. I am not going to give up on my subscription DVD service though. And this crap that we have now where it costs as much to download a movie as to buy it on DVD is stupid. If I have to pay $15 for a movie I want a box with snazzy artwork and a disk. Same problem is still true of music. For $10 I can get a lot of stuff on disk at Wally-World or wherever and just rip it. The price needs to be right and I need it to be compelling for me to spend my bandwidth versus driving to the store.

  4. it isn’t going to be HD resolution. How many GB, exactly, can you afford to spend on movies? It isn’t the cost of $9.99 for one DVD that bothers me, but the 5GB per movie it would probably take… how much does your hard drive cost per GB… not cheap.

  5. I don’t think we are technologically ready for HD content. Two things. One, bandwidth. Maybe Korea is ready, but the U.S. is far from it. Two, storage. HD uses a lot of storage. Roughly 30GB’s per movie.

    The only way I see HD being a possibility is if you purchase the movie but it doesn’t get stored on your computer. Whenever you want to watch it, it gets cached from servers and you start watching it soon after the download begins. The downside to this is you are forced to watch it on your computer.

    Maybe Apple is working on a 42″ television that runs OS X as well. This would be the way to go. Watch your movies in HD without having to purchase the disk or download it and figure out how to store it. Basically an on demand service but one that allows you to view a movie over and over because you “purchased” it.

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