Apple, Hollywood at odds over movie pricing ahead of new 4K Apple TV launch

“Apple Inc. is scrambling to strike deals with Hollywood studios to offer ultra-high definition films on its new Apple TV, but discussions have been hampered by disagreements over pricing, according to people with knowledge of the talks,” Ben Fritz and Tripp Mickle report for The Wall Street Journal. “The tech giant will unveil the new version of its streaming media device at an event Sept. 12 and tout its compatibility with new 4K televisions, people with knowledge of its plans said. Apple will also reveal updates to its iPhone and Apple Watch, according to people briefed on its plans.”

Apple “wants to charge $19.99 for those movies—on par with what it sometimes charges for new HD movies, the people with knowledge of the discussions said. Several Hollywood studios want to charge $5 to $10 more for 4K movies, the people said,” Fritz and Mickle report. “Closing deals with studios before Sept. 12 is important to Apple as it tries to reignite interest in the TV product it first launched in 2007. The company has been losing market share lately to streaming-media players from rivals such as Inc. and Roku Inc., which already offer devices with 4K capability that cost at least 60% less than the $149 Apple TV.”

“The availability of Hollywood films in Ultra HD, another term for 4K, also could rejuvenate the iTunes Store,” Fritz and Mickle report. “The company’s movie rental-and-sales business has been losing market share to rivals such as Comcast Corp. and Amazon, falling below 35% from about 50% in 2012.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully the two sides reach a consensus this century. The movie industry is starting to look something like the clueless music industry of the early aughts. Get moving or get run over, boys!

Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016


  1. You mean the greedy Hollywood elites want more money for their mostly crappy products? Shocking. Movie quality (as in good stories) has gone steadily downhill in the last 20 years. Most everything coming out of Hollywood these days has a political correctness behind it, anyway.

    1. The key is offering the movies in 4K and HDR. Apple’s new device must be able to support HDR, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and whatever else is considered the latest and greatest. Everybody and their mothers already offer 4K streaming, so Apple needs to be on par with current tech and be open enough to allow for future firmware upgrades. (Plus with HDMI 2.1 coming, that’s going to cause another wave of upgrade fever.)
      Keep in mind there are a good number of audio/videophiles out there that will pay extra to see their HDR and Dolby Vision indicators light up on their new equipment-either using physical media or by streaming.

      1. Yes, yes and yes.

        I note that there are, reportedly, three varieties of HDR available for 4K. This should be interesting. More proprietary warz? Extra fees for this and that HDR licensing? More media oligarchy meddling in our lives? Then of course there’s new DRM: Digital Rights Manglement. That’s the dump on top of the cake. 💩 $💲💵💰💸

        1. Yep – another pain in the butt format war could be brewing. I believe we are up to at least 5 flavors of HDR currently. With a few of them being compatible only (so far at least) to manufacturer or streaming service. So in a way, Apple was smart to wait, as there is still not one be-all-end-all solution.

          1. Agreed. I hope the HDR warz settle down. It’s a shame a standard wasn’t established. From past history, we know they’ll all license their tech to everyone, or one will take over and boot the others into obscurity. Who will it be?

      1. I am tired of the media producers thinking that more pixels means a higher price. We paid time after time for music – vinyl, 8-track, cassette, CD, etc. Now they think that we will continue doing the same for video – Video Disc, VHS, DVD, BluRay…

        I don’t mind paying a reasonable price for stuff. Sometimes I am even willing to pay for the same stuff in different ways, or to pay extra for more flexibility in using the media. But I am sick and tired of corporations deciding on the size of the pie and the cuts that each will take when we, the consumers, have to purchase the damn pie.

        Professional sports are the same way. The owners and players argue over how to split the pie. Both want more, so they continue to increase the size of the pie with TV revenue and expensive merchandise and outrageous ticket prices on top of high parking fees. In the end, they expect us to pay for their sports monopoly. The NCAA is also a major problem because they do not pay the kids that they exploit. And then they expect me to pay over $100 for a so-so seat in a stadium for a college game? All of these groups are going to price themselves into a hole.

  2. Hah! I am still satisfied with 720/1080p video, and can’t see any reason I will EVER ‘need’ 4K. Take that, Hollywood. Stuff your 4K in the same sock your 3D is in.

  3. I really hope I don’t need to repurchase 350 movies just go get 4K quality. If it’s not just made free already, I hope they can deduct the part I already paid kind of like buying a TV show season after having bought some episodes.

    1. If the content created have a say, they will reason if you purchased physical media you would pay full price to upgrade or change format so (HELL YES WE WANT MORE $$$$).

      1. And in so doing, they would generate a significant incentive for people to stop buying movies altogether and start downloading them from torrents permanently.

        This article is a bad omen for the next Apple TV and for Apple’s video purchase model. The movie industry is blowing it’s own foot off.

  4. When we see the movie companies behave like that, it’s easy to see why Apple is now starting to create it’s own content.

    Those who currently control the rights to movies can simply say no and insist on getting whatever payments they demand. Just as with music, Apple believes that there is a better way which will work well for both the studios and the customers, but the studios aren’t prepared to listen.

  5. Since when has Hollywood been any different wanting premium prices for mostly crappy product? (And I am a Hollywood guy.) Apple should really push for more cable TV shows to go full 4K since they are the future and not these 6 figure-per-installment franchises with huge gaps of time between installments and precious little real story arcs and characters worth caring about. More about artificial spectacle than structure. Cable or online is the new cinema. (High profile actors are sure realizing this.) Theaters are dying. Hollywood needs to accept too most folks have limited funds for this stuff. Excessive greed will get you standing on a street corner with your pockets turned out and a giant boot imprint on your derriere.

  6. It is joke by Hollywood, 4k movies I bought have a code for digital movies, on VUDU some codes are for 4k movies in digital, others only give HDX version and want to charge $30 for UHD version. It is very annoying to get hdx version of movie after paying $30 for 4k Blu-ray.

  7. Hollywood is having a poor year reportedly. its not clear whether people are tired of re-makes or just lame films overall.. the last weekend was reportedly the worst in 15 years.. So they are looking probably for any means possible to make this up,

    However this is probably not going to happen anytime soon as the movie slate I see coming up doesn’t have anything remotely interesting until perhaps November or December, and that’s only a couple titles.. (just my 2 cents)

  8. I don’t really get the “buying” movies. How often do you watch the same movie again? I do like getting the “extras” on some movies and do buy them sometimes when they are within a dollar of the rental price but why do people buy “hundreds” of movies? Little kids are the obvious exception my daughter must have watched Tangled 1,000 times.

  9. Why is this news? Is it because Apple is trying to sell 4K movies at a price cheaper than Amazon and Google? I find it hard to believe Apple is first to make a deal with Hollywood for 4K movie content.

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