Report: Apple to unveil movie service with full-length Disney features on September 12th

Apple StoreApple Computer Inc. is in the final stages of building an online service that will “allow easy and legal access to potentially thousands of movies on demand,” Dawn C. Chmielewski reports for The Los Angeles Times.

“Apple, which invigorated online music with its iTunes Music Store, will reveal plans next week to offer downloadable movies from the Walt Disney Co.,” Chmielewski reports.

Chmielewski reports that Apple’s plans were confirmed by several people familiar with them. Details such as pricing and title lineups were unclear Tuesday, as was information about how the service will work.

“Apple plans to unveil its movie service Sept. 12 with full-length features from Disney, the same initial partner it chose to inaugurate downloadable television shows last fall. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is a Disney board member, a position he assumed when Disney bought his Pixar Animation Studios earlier this year.

Since Apple started offering video last fall, the company has sold 35 million clips — including music videos, classic TV shows and new installments of popular shows such as “Desperate Housewives” and “The Office.”

Disney declined to comment Tuesday and Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said only that “we do not comment on rumors and speculation.”

In tandem with the movie service, Apple is expected to unveil a new version of the its popular iPod media player.

Other major studios are still in talks with Apple, according to people familiar with the discussions. The studios have reservations about the digital locks Apple uses to prevent unauthorized copying. They also don’t like Apple’s refusal to charge higher prices for new releases.

That issue has also been a contentious one between Apple and the record labels that sell their songs for a flat 99 cents on iTunes. Apple has long insisted that flat prices make things easier for customers. It does the same with its video offerings, charging $1.99 per clip. Labels and studios, however, argue that new songs or movies are more valuable than older material in their catalogs.

More info, including news about other services coming from Amazon, Sprint and others, here.

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RUMOR: Apple plans blockbuster product announcements next Tuesday – September 04, 2006
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23 Comments

  1. Before anyone says “Oh whoopee, The Little Mermaid and Old Yeller. Any movies for someone older than 12?”, remember that Walt Disney also owns Touchstone, Miramax, and Hollywood Pictures. (I think there’s others that aren’t coming to mind.)

  2. Apple would be making a really smart move if they managed to make ALL Buena Vista movies ever made available starting on the 12th, and whatever TV shows they haven’t put on the iTunes Media Store yet, ’cause I’m sure there’s profit to be made with every movie on there considering there’s always fanboys with plenty of money who go to places like the iTunes Media Store.

  3. jjr, the whole point of speculation is that you do it before an event.

    What’s the point of speculation once all the details are known?

    Then follow the reviews and post mortems.
    (and then you open your wallet!)

  4. I cant see them offering DVD quality movies? The size would just be too much.

    I can get dressed, find my keys, grab my wallet, jump in the car, drive to the nearest store, ahhh screw it just download it.

  5. You can already download a full HD movie at 2 GB on BitTorrent(using a AVI, so with H264 this could be pushed down to 1.5 GB), so I don’t see this as an issue for broadband users. What the hell is Apple waiting to start offering their TV Shows in HD? The current resolution is appaling for any other screen than an iPod. And again it encourages piracy, as you can very easily download any TV show in full HD resolution on BitTorrent.
    The current iTunes resolution (320×240) just doesn’t cut it.

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