Hollywood studios warm to Apple’s iCloud; HBO agrees to allow Universal, Fox movies on Apple’s iCloud

“Last week Apple said five major movie studios had agreed to allow consumers to buy their films on one Apple device, such as an iPad, and watch them on another, such as a Mac. But clinching those deals required both sides to work through hurdles that included at least one licensing arrangement one of the studios already had in place,” Jessica E. Vascellaro, Erica Orden and Sam Schechner report for The Wall Street Journal. “Apple is offering the option of viewing movies on a range of its devices as part of its online iCloud service, under agreements with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Pictures and Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. The company has yet to reach similar accords with two other big studios [Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures and News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox].”

“The move could provide a boost for the new iPad, which has a higher-resolution screen that Apple hopes will be popular for watching video,” Vascellaro, Orden and Schechner report. “While record labels and television studios agreed to participate in iCloud when Apple launched it late last year, movie studios, weren’t part of the picture until now. Apple had wanted to get all the major studios on board before launching its movie service but decided to proceed with the deals it had, said a person familiar with the matter.”

Vascellaro, Orden and Schechner report, “One major roadblock for Apple has been Time Warner’s pay-TV channel HBO. Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox license their movies to the channel, in deals that bar them from letting their movies work with iCloud. The deals specify that HBO has exclusive rights to beam movies to consumers during certain “windows” after each film comes out. The first such window usually comes about six months after a movie is released on DVD, and lasts about a year. During that interval, movies generally disappear from competing online stores and video-on-demand menus.”

“HBO isn’t planning to give up its exclusive windows, for which it pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and which allow it to beam movies to its online service HBO Go as well as to its traditional TV channels. But HBO is relaxing terms to let users of iCloud and other services send movies they already own to other devices during those windows, an HBO spokesman said,” Vascellaro, Orden and Schechner report. “HBO agreed to loosen its arrangement with Warner Bros., which is working with iCloud, and also is in talks with Universal and Fox to do the same, the spokesman added. Fox expects to resolve the issue as soon as within weeks, said a person familiar with the situation.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Slowly, but surely, moving in the right direction.

[Attribution: AppleInsider. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. iPad not only unleash the “Post PC” era, but also the “Post TV” era.
    TV devices will still exist, but TV broadcasters won’t.
    Carlos Slim , the richest men in the world (America Movil) has declared that they are planning to create a Internet TV company, competing against Televisa and TV Azteca (Mexico’s largest TV companies).

  2. Although the new iPad was a big announcement last week, I think everyone is missing another big thing that was announced last week. This is the storing of all your video/movie purchases on iCloud. This is huge for me. I noticed now that on all my devices and Mac that I can now see all TV shows and Movies that I have EVER purchased from iTunes and can download them at will onto ANY device. This is huge.

    Now I can purchase a movie or TV show from iTunes and not have to worry about it taking up space on my device and no worries about syncing and transferring to devices. I freed up 100 Gigs of space on my MacBook since I no longer have to store my movies on my hard drive.

    This spells the official death of DVD/Bluray movies. I don’t know how much money I’ve wasted on these only to lose them, lose the case for them, or have them be scratched and be unusable. I would much rather buy the movies on iTunes and have them available for me forever on whatever device I want.

    Thanks Apple.

    1. I totally love your enthusiasm, but realistically, there is no way DVD/Bluray (i.e. optical) formats are going away anytime soon.

      It is impossible to download a 1080p HD content in real time that will even remotely approach the image quality of BD. About the fastest you could possibly get through streaming will be 15Mbps (and that’s really stretching it; very few people have fiber optic in their home). And even 15Mbps is still extremely inadequate for pristine quality full HD. Blu-ray audio alone could easily saturate 10Mbps (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD).

      The difference here is probably similar to that between audio CD and iTunes AAC audio: quality vs. convenience. However, unlike audio, where most users consider digital compressed audio a significantly more convenient than a CD (audio is so often consumed on-the-go) that it trumps the negligible loss in quality, there isn’t such significant advantage of digital downloads over optical media for video. Most people still watch video on their household (HD) TV set, in their living rooms. From practical point of view, some will argue it is even more convenient to just pull the disc from the shelf, pop it into a BD/DVD player and watch (rather than navigating through the settop box device menu). Never mind that the availability of digital video content (as well as the extremely fat pipes necessary to deliver it) is still severely limited.

  3. Yay, thank you for letting me view content I already own the way I wan to…assholes. Fucking entertainment industry needs to learn it’s place. When it comes to content creation, they’re pretty good (some facets of the industry are better then others). When it comes to content delivery, they need to let the pros handle it and step the fuck back.

    1. Once the colourful language is stripped out (I hear your frustration, by the way), your point seems valid.

      One thing, though; we need to clearly understand the difference between content producers and content distributors. The first group are studios, the second are TV networks. It is entirely likely that the first will no longer need the second in order to sell their wares. Content producers (Warner, Paramount, and many others) may as well one day put their shows directly on Apple’s platforms, without the intricate ‘pilot season’ song-and-dance, where they prepare elaborate pitches (and pilots) for the network executives and are at the mercy of those who choose which shows live or die. There are numerous great TV shows that never saw the light of day because somebody didn’t like the pilot. Eliminating this step in the game may let the people who should be the ones who matter (you know, the audience) make the choice which shows to watch.

  4. Great! Now I can watch HBO’s fiction on all my Apple devices.

    (You know it’s made up when the opening disclaimer says “Based on actual events we think we heard about while on peyote…”)

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