“In much the same way it upended online distribution of music, Apple may now be poised to redefine the way movies are rented online. According to published reports, Apple and Fox plan to bring movie rentals to Apple’s popular iTunes Store, and through that to its family of iPod media players and the iPhone. The two companies are said to have concluded an agreement that will have Fox movies available for limited-time viewing via iTunes as they are released on DVD,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for BusinessWeek.
Apple competitors’ offerings are “hard to use and their movies don’t work with iPods, among the most popular digital entertainment devices on the market, says JupiterResearch analyst Michael Gartenberg. ‘Apple will be bringing to the table its famous ease-of-use and its popular player,’ Gartenberg says. ‘For all intents and purposes, if something doesn’t work with the iPhone or the iPod, it doesn’t exist.’ Some of the services aren’t compatible with Apple’s Macintosh computers, either,” Hesseldahl reports.
“Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs may announce the rental plan on Jan. 15, during his keynote address at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco… As much as the Apple-Fox deal could shake up online film rental, it’s also likely to breathe new life into Apple TV, a digital media also-ran,” Hesseldahl reports. “…Apple hasn’t disclosed the number of Apple TV devices sold, but market research firm iSuppli has estimated the number at less than a million units. The number could rise quickly once movies are available for rent from iTunes.”
MacDailyNews Take: Let’s say 900,000 Apple TV units sold since March 21, 2007. That’s an average of 100,000 units per month. At $350 each (and that’s probably a bit low as most Apple TV buyers would opt for the larger 160GB hard drive model at $399 vs. the 40GB $299 model), that’s $35 million per month from Apple TV. $315 million in 9 months. Can we please have an “also-ran” like that? And how have competitors done with products that claim to do similar things as Apple TV? “Much worse” would be an excellent guess. Apple TV denigrators seem to forget that when and if Apple turns on movie and TV show rentals (and they include Apple TV, which they almost certainly would), there will be 1 million units out there owned by customers who are thirsting for content. We are poised and ready to rent. If the rumors are true, iTunes movie and TV show rentals are going to be much bigger and growth will happen much faster than many seem to realize. Watch and see – literally.
Hesseldahl continues, “Apple TV currently has a set of options related to the iTunes Store that for now do nothing. Analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray (PJC) expects that soon consumers with Apple TV boxes will be able to rent movies from their living room by using iTunes via the TV… Reports say Apple will allow future Fox DVD releases to be ‘ripped’ to iTunes collections in much the same way that music can be ripped from a CD… Earlier rumors had said that movies would be playable [on Macs, iPods, iPhones, Apple TVs, anything Apple comes up with in the future, and Windows PCs] for 30 days for a price of $2.99.”
Full article here.