Hollywood studios ink deals to sell and rent movies via Apple’s iTunes Store in UK, Canada

“Apple is poised to announce it will start selling films from four major Hollywood studios for download in the UK as part of its iTunes internet service at prices on a par with DVDs,” Dan Sabbagh reports for The Times.

“The company intends to unveil agreements with Disney, the studio behind the Pirates of the Caribbean series and Paramount, the company behind the Indiana Jones picture,” Sabbagh reports. “Exact pricing details were not available last night, but studio sources said that they ‘would not want to undercut DVD prices.’ That would imply prices ranging anywhere from £6 to £25.”

“Twentieth Century Fox, the studio owned by News Corporation, the parent company of The Times, and Warner Brothers, the Time Warner company that is behind the Harry Potter series and the Matrix trilogy are the other two majors to sign up,” Sabbagh reports.

“It is the first time that Hollywood films have been available to Britons, although similar agreements have been struck for the United States already. Canada is also expected to be covered by the new agreement,” Sabbagh reports.

“Films will be available both for outright purchase and for rent… The exact date on which popular films will be made available is yet to be finalised, and the release schedule is up to the studios,” Sabbagh reports.

Full article here.


  1. I live in the UK.

    If I can download for the same price I can buy a DVD – No deal. I’ll continue to buy on DVD! There are huge cost savings for the movie companies to sell through Apple TV, nice to see none of this will be handed back to the consumer, and just used to raise their profits!!

    Still no word on rental – mind you, the movie companies will probably want to charge the same to rent as to buy!!!

  2. Talk about manipulating your markets and customers. Film companies should be hung out to dry.

    The cost of distribution through iTunes is a FRACTION of producing and retailing DVD’s, so how can they possibly not REDUCE the price?????

  3. The only dvd’s I tend to buy are TV Shows that I have watched repeatedly and still enjoy, and I tend to only buy those with good commentaries – Spaced, Futurama etc. I gave up buying films since iI had a couple of hundred I never watched and it was a waste of money. Now I pay £14.99 a month for unlimited game and dvd rentals, 3 at a time. There is no way I’m gonna pay more money for lower quality video and no extras.

  4. I really think that for Apple TV to be a huge success, they either need to integrate a DVR, or they need to release TV shows when they are broadcast on cable. The latter fits better with the iTunes model.

  5. The ability to rent the Entire Blockbusters library from your couch is powerful. Buying a movie at the same price of the DVD will not be nearly as compelling.
    Rentals up, Purchases down…Apple moves to online distribution of DVD’s…no way…
    But if itunes is the most powerful sales alley, it may eventually implode DVD sales at Walmart and Amazon.

  6. I have to agree about not undercutting DVD prices; that’s a joke…MDN’s previous takes about discs notwithstanding, having the packaging, extra features and transferrable tangible disc is always going to be preferrable if the price point is the same. The standard def Apple TV movies do NOT compare with DVD-quality; nor do the Hi-Def Apple TV movies compare with Blu-Ray. Plus they take up valuable hard drive space (not to mention increasingly metered bandwidth to download). The only way this model is going to work is if you make the items cheaper than discs. Why do you think iTunes was successful?

    As others have said, the studios save a bundle selling digital downloads over physical discs; it’s highway robbery not to pass on that savings…

  7. Just like it happened with music, getting movies at low cost with out living home, will help a lot to reduce piracy. Specially in Mexico (but it happens in almost all the world), piracy is a bigger market than original DVDs or CDs because there is no iTunes store and the online stores that they have are very expensive, slow and they do not have much of music catalog.

  8. I used to buy a tonne of DVDs and found that, with few exceptions, it is cheaper to just rent the DVDs. It is rare I will watch the same movie 5 times over a few years. At a $4 rental that’s $20 or just the entry level price for a new DVD. If we are talking HD, then Blu-Rays cost $30 which would be over 7 viewings.

    Like I said, the few exceptions would be epic movies like Lord of the Rings or maybe Harry Potter, etc.. However, the biggest exception is the purchase of Kid’s Movies! Kid’s will watch a DVD 10 times in a year. Kid’s shows are much cheaper to purchase than rent unless it is a show you will only rent once a year.

    Bring it on Apple. Not only is the ATV worth the price of admission for listening to music on my home theatre and showing video & pics of the kids, but if I can also rent and save $1 over Rogers/Blockbuster AND do it from the convenience of my home, I’m sold. And I never have to worry about the DVD being rented and not available.

    Now if only I could ‘RENT’ games online for my Wii. There is the killer App for Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft in the gaming market. If you can rent, download and play a ROM instead of renting from a store, sales would be astronomical. I don’t get why MS hasn’t build a gaming store yet. It just doesn’t make sense!

  9. The studios simply don’t get it. Selling a download for the same price as a boxed DVD is nothing short of a rip-off. They don’t incur any of the manufacturing and distribution costs, they don’t include additional content and the quality is marginally less.

    It’s an insult to consumers to make downloads available under such poor terms and I can’t see any reason why customers would choose to buy downloads rather than physical DVDs when that is the deal.

    But the aspect that the studios should really be worried about is that they are treating their customers with contempt and in return, the customers will show similar contempt for the studios. Piracy is inevitably going to be a more tempting proposition than before.

    When will we see record labels or movie studios making sensible decisions regarding digital delivery ? Every move that they make demonstrates that they have no understanding of the realities that are already there. They seem to think that customers are solely there to be ripped off and treated with contempt. They act as though they imagine that they can stop this tide of digital content, but every stand that they make turns out to be futile. It would have been so much more sensible to offer a fair deal at the outset. It will have to end up that way, so why not do it before they are forced into another climb down ?

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