Apple said in talks with film studios over early access to movies for iTunes

“Apple Inc. is pressing Hollywood studios for earlier access to movies, according to people with knowledge of the matter, a move that would bolster the company’s iTunes business,” Anousha Sakoui and Alex Webb report for Bloomberg.

“21st Century Fox Inc., Time Warner Inc.’s Warner Bros. and Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures all confirmed over the past week that they are looking to offer high-priced, home-video rentals of new movies shortly after they open in theaters,” Sakoui and Webb report. “Some studio executives have been pushing to allow home rentals as early as two weeks after theatrical debuts and are considering a deal with iTunes as one option, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.”

“The most recent talks are part of longer-running efforts by Cupertino, California-based Apple to get new movies sooner, two of the people said. Such an arrangement could help iTunes stand out in a crowded online market for movies, TV shows and music. While the iTunes store helped Apple build a dominant role in music retailing, the company hasn’t carved out a similar role in music and video streaming,” Sakoui and Webb report. “Hollywood studios typically give theaters exclusive rights to new movies for 90 days or more before issuing them on DVD or making them available for online purchase. With cinema attendance mostly stagnant and home-video revenue flat in recent years, film companies are under pressure to find new areas of growth.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ever try shooting in 4K off a 4K UltraHD display? It’s not half bad. The studios are going to have to learn to live with the analog hole if they want to allow home rentals as early as two weeks after theatrical debuts. They also have to deal with movie theaters going out of business even faster than they are now.

Is this a reason why iTunes Store and Apple TV are handicapped with the lack of 4K? They don’t want pirates shooting early releases off TV screens? Wouldn’t pirated content at 1080p suffice for cheapskates?


  1. Maybe the tipping by point has finally come where studios can break their incestuous ties to the movie theatre chains. Movie theatre sales are flat because they haven’t done anything different in decades. They’re dirty, noisy, and force you to sit through commercials after already having paid the ticket price.

    With regard to piracy, it will always be present in some form. But studios can combat it to some degree by offering a high quality product at a reasonable price.

  2. “Ever try shooting in 4K off a 4K UltraHD display? It’s not half bad.”

    Actually I have, but not as a pirate. It really is half bad though. It’s not so much the video quality, although that’s an issue. It’s also a question of multi-channel audio, and of course the considerable amount of time involved.

    A pirate would be better off pulling from any number of 1080p sources in terms of time, effort and quality.

    My guess here is that the talks all come down to pricing. Indirectly, the studios aren’t making much money in the later weeks of theatrical release, but the theaters are. Take those weeks away due to iTunes (and others that will follow), and you end up killing a number of theaters that the studios are also making early release money on.

    Also there’s the issue from Apple’s perspective. If new releases are priced too high, it’s going to be a bad user experience.

    1. Yup. ‘High priced’ will make it a non-starter. They would make a killing if they brought the price of regular rentals down too. The poor quality of modern content coupled with their greed are their problem, not moviegoers.

      1. I agree on that as well. I’ve been monitoring movies and buying when they’re on sale. You can find good deals, but otherwise, they’re too much, especially for rentals.

  3. I do not go to the movies as often as I used to as I am not into comic book heroes, retreads of old film for the Politically Correct Crowd- Sony/Columbia’s Little Orphan Annie and Ghostbusters come directly to mind, kiddie films (empty nester), etc. When I do go, the rape and pillage of my wallet quickly reminds me why- nothing like a $5 Hot Dog and $5 drink to make you want to return.

    Between Netflix, iTunes and Comcast Cable I do not need the local movie theater. I set the show time, control who is in the next seat, know the refreshments are much better, etc. You also do not have to put up with the asshole who talks on the phone to their babysitter during the movie.

    Netflix is now available and integrated into the Comcast X1 Box, so the streamed content does not count against your data cap. Sign up through the X1 and the bill is added to your cable bill.

    1. 4k Roku or ATV2 routed into Onkyo HTC, twin subwoofers, 80″ 4k tv…..why go to the movies…………

      DavGreg touches on a nerve that has been building for years…….

      I really miss the jabber-jaws, gum poppers, cell yakkkkkers, and parking lot troglodites…….NOT!!!

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