With 8,000 movies and 50,000 TV episodes, Apple’s iTunes Store now needs to drive sales

Apple Online StoreApple’s iTunes Store’s “TV episodes seem to have plateaued at 50,000, while the number of Hollywood movies continues to inch upward and now exceeds 8,000 (2,000 in high-definition),” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “But reports on sales come few and far between. Reviewing Apple’s press releases and quarterly earnings calls, we found only three reports of TV show sales: 50 million (Jan. 2007), 200 million (Oct. 2008) and 250 million (March 2009). For Hollywood movie sales, there were even fewer reports: 1.3 million sold (Jan. 2007), 2 million sold (July 2007) and 33 million “purchased and rented” (March 2009). This at a time when song and app sales are are pouring in by the billions.”

“All this helps explain why Apple is pressing so hard to strike new deals with Hollywood,” Elmer-DeWitt reports. “The talk in media circles Monday morning centers on a report by Brian Stelter in The New York Times about Hollywood’s resistance to Apple’s latest sales pitch: to lower the price of TV episodes to $0.99 from $1.99 and to sell subscriptions to ‘best of TV’ packages for $30 a month.”

Elmer-DeWitt reports, “Although PBS has started offering selected kids episodes for less than a dollar and CBS has indicated it is willing to consider prices that low for some of its shows, the deals are being characterized as experiments to see if 99 cents is, as Apple claims, the magic price point at which video sales take off.”

Full article here.

22 Comments

  1. Try an experiment, make a log of everything you watch for three months. Then, do the math. If I told you the answer now, you would never believe me. (hint: how much do you pay for the 72,000 hours of content sent to you every month divided by the hours of non-basic content you actually watch?)

  2. Uh, guys, it’s the CONTENT OWNERS that set the price of TV shows and movies sold in the iTunes Store, NOT Apple. You’re shooting the messenger. It’s the CONTENT OWNERS that are restricting which movies and TV shows are sold on iTMS. It’s the CONTENT OWNERS that are restricting what can be sold or rented outside the US. NOT APPLE. Please get that straight.

    @Gabriel: dream on. You won’t see DRM-free TV shows or movies in your lifetime, or likely that of your children.

    Sometimes, your comments make my head hurt. This is one of them.

  3. With the amount of time my wife and adolescent son play on the Wii, there’s very little time left over for TV shows. Even then, my wife is generally more interested in the news than sitcoms. So, I’d have to say that our family is not one that would be persuaded to get TV shows from iTunes (or anywhere else, for that matter), no matter how low the cost. Besides, what little we see of TV shows, the more we’re convinced that TV has a very bleak future. We do use our AppleTV, almost exclusively over the weekends, to rent movies. But we generally keep a cap of < $5.00/movie; otherwise we could go to the Movie Gallery up the street to rent for less than through Apple TV. Sure, we could get another TV, but we’re really not that interested. (Reality TV? Yeah, whatever…)

    Now, my adult daughter, OTOH, is a TV show fanatic. I can imagine you’d much prefer her opinion. But seeing as she’s an AT&T;employee, not yet finished college degree, I’m sure that it would be something along the lines of “less expensive is better.” I’ll leave it to everyone else to figure out where that leads.

  4. If AppleTV is still a “hobby” it is because Apple have yet to persuade content providers to get fully on board… In Australia, for instance, there are only 20 documentaries for sale on iTunes – for someone who only watches docos this makes AppleTV next to useless downunder…

  5. I say Apple should remove all TV/Movies from the iTunes stores and see what happens. I’m guessing the same people that rip and steal now will continue and the content providers will make even less money and will come (run) back to Apple when they are tired of lossing money.

    No one has the distribution channel, model or hardware to compete, good luck.

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