The Associated Press blows it: article about movie downloads virtually ignores Apple

Apple Store“When movies shifted from videocassettes to DVD, retailers simply cleared the tapes off the shelves to make room for discs. That’s not so easy now that movies appear poised to follow music onto the Internet,” Joshua Freed reports for The Associated Press.

Freed reports, “The number of DVDs sold grew 5 percent last year, but that was down from a 9 percent increase during the previous year. Selling prices for both music and movies have declined. And NPD said DVD sales would have slid faster if not for the growth of TV programs offered on DVD.”

“Even if movie and music downloads don’t drive shoppers into stores, they at least keep retailers like Best Buy in the movie and music business,” Freed reports. “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is the farthest along after selling 3,000 movie downloads in its first month, February.”

MacDailyNews Take: Bzzzt! Try again, Josh. Apple is farthest along, not Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s not even in the game compared to Apple. For perspective, something this AP reporter and report obviously lack, at the rate reported, it would take Wal-Mart 3.5 years to equal Apple’s first week of movie download sales. Apple sold over 1.3 million movies in the first 3 months and has been selling for approximately 7 months so far. Wal-Mart would only be “farthest along” if Apple had stopped selling movie downloads after 3 months and Wal-Mart continued at their current rate for the next 8 1/3rd years. Not putting Apple’s sales into the article is shoddy reporting, due to incompetence or by intent, that fails to provide important context and pertinent information for the reader. Related articles:
Fortune: Apple Inc. is America’s best retailer – March 08, 2007
Disney film sales via Apple’s iTunes Store rise sharply; over 1.3 million sold in first three months – February 02, 2007
Disney sells nearly 500,000 movies via Apple’s iTunes Store in less than two months – November 09, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006

Freed continues, “Meanwhile, some online businesses already have tech-savvy customers. Netflix Inc., the online-only service that ships DVDs through the mail, is rolling out a streaming-movie option. And of course there’s Apple, which has begun selling movies at its iTunes store online. Video-on-demand from cable offers another option for avoiding a trip to the store. Inc. offers downloadable movies that can be sent to your TiVo, and Microsoft Corp.’s XBox Live marketplace does, too, some of them in high definition.”

Full article here.
We eagerly await Joshua Freed’s next article for The Associated Press which will explore the soft drink industry while barely mentioning Coca-Cola and incorrectly crediting Fred’s Cola as industry leader.

Last week The Associated Press issued an Apple TV hit piece laden with conjecture and now this, which will also be syndicated to hundreds of media outlets. What exactly is going on here, AP?


Related article:
Laptop Mag reviews Apple TV: ‘The best digital media adapter yet,’ 4.5 out of 5 stars – April 06, 2007
RUMOR: Apple TV team prepping update with new ‘Net-centric features – April 05, 2007
Additional Apple TV models coming? – April 05, 2007
AP writer criticizes Apple TV video quality – April 04, 2007
Apple TV USB support is now enabled via hack – March 30, 2007
Digit hands-on with Apple TV: ‘simple to set up, a delight to use’ – March 29, 2007
Newsweek: Apple TV has a lot going for it – March 29, 2007
Apple overriding Apple TV hacks? – March 29, 2007
Hacking Apple TV: Joost successfully run on Apple TV – March 28, 2007
Apple TV software hints at future DVR functions? – March 28, 2007
Ten Apple TV myths – March 28, 2007
Ars Technica in-depth review: Apple TV ‘impressed all those who touched it’ – March 27, 2007
The chips inside Apple TV – March 27, 2007
Analyst: Apple TV is a platform, not a single product – March 27, 2007
Digital Trends reviews Apple TV: 7 out of 10, ‘huge phenomenon will challenge conventional thinking’ – March 26, 2007
Automatically convert video files for Apple TV with Apple’s Automator – March 26, 2007
Apple TV, iTunes, iTunes Store: BusinessWeek’s Wildstrom blows it – March 26, 2007
iLounge gives Apple TV a ‘B’ in hands-on review: ‘recommended’ – March 24, 2007
CNET reviews Apple TV: ‘Very Good’ – 7.7 out of 10 – March 24, 2007
Video: Apple TV menu and interface walkthrough – March 23, 2007
Analyst: Apple TV will change the TV business – March 23, 2007
G4’s ‘Attack of the Show’ host Olivia Munn licks Apple TV – March 23, 2007
Xvid fully functional on Apple TV – March 23, 2007
Apple TV does not require Widescreen TV or HDTV, works with standard TVs – March 23, 2007
CBS looks at Apple TV on ‘The Early Show’ (with video) – March 23, 2007
Scoble: ‘Apple TV rocks’ – March 23, 2007
Apple TV hard drive upgrade works – March 23, 2007
Apple TV dissection photos – March 22, 2007
Apple posts Apple TV User’s Guide online – March 22, 2007
Enderle: ‘Apple’s attractive and well packaged Apple TV likely to set the pace’ – March 22, 2007
David Pogue demos Apple TV in humorous NY Times’ video – March 22, 2007
PC Magazine review gives Apple TV 4 out of 5 stars – March 22, 2007
NY Times’ Pogue: ‘Apple TV offers a gracious, elegant, effortless, delightful experience’ – March 21, 2007
Mossberg hands-on with Apple TV: ‘beautiful design, easy-to-use, classic Apple: simple and elegant’ – March 21, 2007
Apple TV projected to surpass TiVo, Netflix – March 20, 2007
Former Microsoft ‘Enthusiast Evangelist’ Gartenberg looks at impact of Apple TV – March 20, 2007
Apple TV ships – March 20, 2007


  1. The article seems to emphasize the efforts of brick-and-mortar retailers. Sure it would’ve been nice to get analysts to quote on Apple, Inc.’s efforts, but we’re talking about some writer on a deadline. Anything about the iTunes store would require more comprehensive coverage. For Josh’s editors, what we read here suffices. When more movie studios adopt the iTunes sales model, and when more Apple TV capabilities are unleashed, we will read more about how Apple will dominate the currently infant movie download market.

  2. Referring to the first MDN take: it appears to me that the AP writer is referring to retail stores (the sell DVDs) that are now moving into the downloads business. This doesn’t apply to Apple so they shouldn’t be mentioned here.

    That’s far from blowing it. Apple just happens not to apply in the context the author is writing.

  3. The point of the article is to look at what traditional and large-scale DVD/CD brick and mortar retailers are doing in regards to downloadable movies. They are already in trouble in music due to Apple/ITS eating away at CD sales. And that will only get much worse. Apple is a retailer, but it is not a broad consumer electronics/DVD/appliance etc. chain like those mentioned (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc). That’s why they get less ink. That said…

    I do fault the writer for not saying how well Apple or even Microsoft are doing, which would have made his story much more informative to average readers (consumers) and chain execs and employees (A better hook: “Non-tradtional retailer Apple and software giant and Xbox 360 maker Microsoft are leading the movie download revoultion. Wal-Mart and other tradtional brick-and-mortar chains that dominate physical CD and DVD sales today are not even in the game. Once again, those who owned the market for content distribution are going to lose it, just like they did with music.”).

  4. Unless a reader were deeply knowledgeable about the movie download business and knew about Apple’s efforts in this area, this article would be deeply misleading. Those claiming that this article focuses on the entry of brick and mortar retailers in this business are wrong in excusing it. Selective or poorly written reporting can be just as misleading as straight out inaccuracies. Any normal reader will conclude that Wal-Mart is the leader in the nascent movie download industry, not just among brick and mortar retailers. Since AP articles are carried by literally thousands of newspapers across the country, we should expect more from them than an article that wouldn’t be up to the standards of a good college paper.

  5. I think the problem is that many people are having a difficult time adjusting thier paradigm to the fact that Apple is a LEADER in many industries rather than just a low market share PC maker struggling to survive.

  6. You didn’t read the article very well MDN. And Freed didn’t write it very well either. But his point is that big box retailers with businesses of established retailr DVD sales are toying with movie downloads. He segregates Netflix and Apple and others that are “tech savvy” into a group that isn’t included. But he threw them a bone.

    Very poorly written. Most journalism 101 students would have made his point more clearly. This guy must be a part-time writer. Maybe he’s a comedian who doesn’t want to be a waiter? 😀

    He’s a bozo, and MDN is a bit of a bozo for giving him attention.


  7. The AP are liars, they have always been liars and will always be liars.
    Most newspapers are just copy machines for the AP.
    They never get contested so they say whatever they want.

  8. MDN is, of course, devastatingly correct.

    One can lie by omission. AP is trying to minimize Apple’s role in the very industry this article purports to cover while inflating Wal-Mart’s role to an insane degree.

    Anyone who can’t see that is mentally deficient.

    Money changed hands here, as is usually the case with the AP.

  9. . . . but we’re talking about some writer on a deadline.

    So what? A deadline is as much of an excuse for errors as the dog ate my homework. Every news story is written before a deadline.

    “The AP apologizes for stating that the sun went nova, California floated out to sea and the Zune surpassed the iPod in sales. The stories had been written on a deadline.”

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