Apple CEO Steve Jobs “plans to launch a movie rental service on iTunes for the first time. Apple is in furious negotiations with top studios to make their new releases available for the service, as well as for sale. BusinessWeek has learned that Apple is nearing deals with Warner Bros. and Paramount, and has already secured deals with Disney and 20th Century Fox,” Peter Burrows and Ronald Grover report for BusinessWeek. “Apple is also planning a major upgrade of the slow-selling Apple TV set-top box.”
MacDailyNews Take: “Slow-selling” compared to which other products in the category? Even with little or no marketing effort behind it, analysts have estimated 800,000 Apple TV units sold since its launch eleven months ago. Who else sold 800,00 units of a device promising to do similar tasks in the last eleven months? Nobody, that’s who.
Burrows and Grover continue, “But Jobs is having his troubles in Hollywood. While Apple persuaded the major record labels to sell every song on iTunes for 99 cents, the movie studios won’t agree to such standardized terms.”
“In the end, Apple will likely offer a respectable but not industry-leading selection of movies. New releases will cost $3.99 to rent, the sources say, similar to what Comcast charges,” Burrows and Grover report. “‘I have great admiration for Steve,” says Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. ‘But I also like cable’s position as the video leader. We offer more movies, TV shows, and video content than anyone else—and we intend to expand our position.'”
MacDailyNews Take: Are Comcast’s $3.99 rentals portable and able to be viewed on Macs, PCs, 150 million iPods and iPhones*, and nearly a million Apple TVs? If Apple makes this move, the value would clearly be in the portability of the content. Try taking your Comcast box and TV on your next plane flight.
Burrows and Grover continue, “Of course, Jobs has succeeded in the face of massive challenges in the past. With sales of Macs and iPods zooming, he can afford to take his time and work on the next knockout. One possibility is that Apple might add a tuner to its TV product later this year. That way, the device could handle the tasks of a cable box and provide a portal for almost any video need—from obscure clips on the Net to the evening news. ‘The day that happens, Apple TV sales will take off,’ says American Technology analyst Shaw Wu.”
Full article here.
*On September 5, 2007, during “The Beat Goes On” event, Apple announced that iPod had sold over 119 million units worldwide. 140-145 million iPods have likely have been sold to date, along with roughly 5 million iPhones. We hope to get a unit sales updates for both iPods and iPhones from Steve Jobs during his Macworld Expo keynote on Tuesday. Failing that, Apple will report Q1 08 quarterly results on January 22 which will give us a clearer picture of units sales for many Apple products.