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iTunes feature film service by year's end?

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
A version of Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store that will serve up feature film downloads should debut by the end of the year at the latest, sources within the film industry told Variety.com.

The report, which offers very little new information on the Apple initiative, reiterates the popular consensus that the iPod maker and major picture studios are locked in debate over pricing.

Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is reported to have been involved in the talks, initially proposing to sell all films at a flat price of $9.99 -- an offer the studios flatly rejected.

"We can't be put in a position where we lose the ability to price our most popular content higher than less popular stuff," said a studio exec close to the negotiations told Variety.

Apple has historically charged a standard fee for its online downloads, such as 99 cents for music tracks and $1.99 for TV shows.

According to the report, there are signs Apple may bend and allow price points ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 in order to differentiate older titles from new releases.

Nevertheless, the report states that sources within the film industry expect "an iTunes movie store to debut by the end of the year at the latest."

"Every studio wants to have broad distribution in digital, and we all know that having Apple as part of that is very, very important," a studio exec said.

Analysts also believe it is only a matter of time before Apple introduces film downloads through its iTunes service. However, Gene Munster, an analyst for PiperJaffray, says the company doesn't see the rush.

"Ultimately, we expect that iTunes will offer feature length movies on iTunes, but we do not believe this is a top priority for the company at this time," Munster recently told clients. He notes that consumers can easily find any movie they want on DVD or on-demand.

"Apple has focused on TV shows because unlike full length movies, there is a clear value proposition to the consumer and the networks in offering TV shows," the analyst said. "For a consumer, if you miss an episode (or entire season) of a show, iTunes is the only way to see it unless you want to wait until the episode comes out on DVD. The benefit to the networks is that this is a new way to monetize original TV content."
post #2 of 56
Who's gonna pay 20 bucks to download a movie from iTunes, when you can spend just as much and get a DVD with features, AND the ability to rip it with HandBrake and get much higher quality?
post #3 of 56
I hope we'll see rental rather than purchase to own when it comes to feature films. Unlike with music, renting movies is a great business. I just want to rent a movie for a week or so for say $1-4, see it and then trash it. That would really compete with illegal torrent activity.
post #4 of 56
How are the other download services doing? I haven't heard.
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post #5 of 56
The movie studios are thinking too much about new releases and not enough about their old library. Someone who might go for "Casablanca" (or any other older movie) at a good price isn't going to pay even $9.99 - not when it shoes up in the bargain bins at $5.99.

While I might end up using the service now and then I'll still be hitting the bargain bins and used DVD stores for reasonably priced movies - mainly because I tend to stock up on a few before heading out on a business trip.
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post #6 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by kenaustus
The movie studios are thinking too much about new releases and not enough about their old library. Someone who might go for "Casablanca" (or any other older movie) at a good price isn't going to pay even $9.99 - not when it shoes up in the bargain bins at $5.99.

I agree - flex prices may be in order, given that movies cost more than CD's (on average), but everyone knows those oldies aren't worth that much. I'll bet Steve will bend on this one.

This is a really obvious prediction, but I'm seeing "next-gen iPod" (the REAL iPod video) this fall...

8) 8)

Anybody want to guess at possible screen size??
post #7 of 56
Sounds nice, but let's wait and see what kind of video quality they'll offer. I'd rather buy the DVD at Amazon.com and rip it. But I can see a lot of people using this.
post #8 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by kenaustus
The movie studios are thinking too much about new releases and not enough about their old library. Someone who might go for "Casablanca" (or any other older movie) at a good price isn't going to pay even $9.99 - not when it shoes up in the bargain bins at $5.99.

While I might end up using the service now and then I'll still be hitting the bargain bins and used DVD stores for reasonably priced movies - mainly because I tend to stock up on a few before heading out on a business trip.

Sorry, I'm not normally this picky, but here goes.

The studios love the old hits like Casablanca because they can sell the "special edition" DVD set with commentary by roger ebert for like $29.99 and it sells. Very rarely will you see such famous old films in bargain bins due to the "special edition" DVD sets.

You're much more likely to find steven segal, b-list movies that no one was interested in even when they first came out in bargain bins.
post #9 of 56
If they are not at the least in Dvd quality, I wont ever buy one!!!

They could give you a version for your iPod, and when you're watching it you could be also downloading the High Def version. (they need to give you two versions for that price)
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #10 of 56
so what's the drm on those things, i can dowload, and burn my copy to keep, or do i have to play it on my 14" screen? it's got to make sense to the consumer in the way consumers are used to their dvd's. are they offering first run in the theaters now option, it might pay for a family of four even at 20$ i'd save 20 on popcorn and drinks and therefore get more to "see" the movie. hmmmmm the theater houses will get mad. but the studios want the bucks before they can get pirated.
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post #11 of 56
Quote:
If they are not at the least in Dvd quality, I wont ever buy one!!!

There is not such thing as one monolithic DVD quality.

You are really saying you would like the least compression possible for a given movie length on a 720x480 screen that can fit on 9 GB's of space.

I won't be buying feature length movies from iTunes. Seeing as how no movie download service is doing well Apple should wait at least until bandwidth increases.
post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by TenoBell
There is not such thing as one monolithic DVD quality.

You know what I mean.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #13 of 56
Actually Apple should just leave movies alone right now.

There are too many elements that don't work and its a business model that won't work very well.

Perhaps wait for a time when more parts of it may work easier and better.
post #14 of 56
Even if the movie was 1.5GB, which is decent quality with h.264, it'd take several hours to download. They'd need a download manager and whatnot. Not to mention the 100 fold increase in bandwidth costs.
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post #15 of 56
It all sounds Wrong wrong wrong to me...

It's the wrong time at the wrong price. Rentals and/or subscriptions are a better way to go for movies in my (and many other peoples) opinion. Jobs said himself that you do not watch movies more than a few times.

Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are finally being introduced which means 1080i and 1080p resolutions. Plus Wi-Max, Higher speed Broadband as Standard (8mbps+) Mobile Broadband services (1mbps) and WUSB are almost here which means we can stream content pretty much anywhere.

From what is being reported (they might not be accurate but that's the only basis we have right now), it sounds like this idea is 10 steps backwards.

We need 'real' innovation. HD Videos, streamed around your home and on the move using a new iPod Video. NOT Lower than DVD quality DRM'd videos at $9.99 each!!!
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post #16 of 56
I have a few problems with this rumor. First, I agree that adequate Internet bandwidth isn't generally available to make downloading an entire movie something I can imagine anyone would do regularly. Secondly, if I have to download the movie to my computer to watch it, that's to storage I have to own, and will have to backup to other media to save, since Apple doesn't allow redownloading. That's a lot of expense and housekeeping that I can't imagine people doing regularly to maintain an online video library. With DVDs, I get the media with the price, so $19.99 isn't acceptable for a download, even $9.99 is a bit marginal, because of the maintenance issues I mentioned above. I can see $4.99 for a download being a feasible price point, but can't imagine the film industry buying into it, not after Jobs manipulated them with the iTunes startup and its fixed prices. At $4.99 I might download a popular movie I'm not really interested in adding to my DVD library, just to see it in high def once, then erase it from my computer. At anything more, I'd want to keep it around, and that will be labor intensive and expensive, much moreso than simply purchasing a DVD.

One option that I might consider would be to purchase the rights to stream a movie from the iTunes movie database to watch on my HDTV. Apple would build a database of the movies I've purchased, and that would enable me to stream and view them, without having to worry about long-term retention at my end. Then, I'd only need the hard disk space for the streaming buffer to view them. You still have the bandwidth issue, but the consumer can now purchase a movie from Apple, leave it on the Apple servers, and view it at their leisure, without having any of the user maintenance concerns I see above. Then, Apple incurs the obligation to maintain a streaming infrastructure online to feed millions of streams to households as users watch those movies at home.

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post #17 of 56
A difference between video and audio through iTunes:

You can always burn your purchased music to a CD and keep it no matter what. If you lose your account, if iTunes goes under in 10 years, if you trash your hard drive, you still have that music on CD (granted at lower-than-CD quality).

It would be nice if you could put your downloaded content onto a DVD and watch it on your TV, just like you can burn your music to CD. Perhaps Apple could just include the same copy protection - macrovision, whatever - in the files you download, and then iTunes would have the capability of burning a copy-protected DVD, just like commercial DVDs are copy protected. Maybe you could only burn it 5 times or something.
post #18 of 56
To anyone who thinks rentals are better:

The movie studios make upwards of 5-10x profit on DVD sales than rentals - in otherwords, when people OWN their movies. In fact, they only make about 2-5x profit on the box office compared to rentals. Jobs has the right idea to focus on ownership to reach the largest profits. Rentals would get people using the service, but nobody would be making money. The movie studios are trying to protect their largest profit-making method, but they also know that DVD sales are beginning to decrease and they cannot milk the special editions much longer.

Rentals will always be around (in store or online) but they scrape the bottom of the profit bowl and are not seen as a way to move forward with technology + profits. The next big profits will come from an ownership method. Maybe iTunes, maybe blu-ray discs. Hopefully Jobs harnesses both.
post #19 of 56
Apple is not trying to sell DVDs for you to store on your computer. The market that they'd be targeting (I think) is the iPod Video peeps. So it would be good enough quality to display in hi def on that size of screen. Nobody complains that the PSP movies they buy can only be played on a PSP. So Apple has the advantage of ALSO playing these on your computer as well. Obviously, not at Full DVD Quality. For those who want that, they can buy the DVD! This would be strictly for those who want to watch movies on their pod
post #20 of 56
I could cope with 'Sell to Own' over 'Rental/Subscription if they weren't charging crazy prices! $4.99 (or even $5.99) as mentioned earlier is a more appropriate price. But it still depends on Quality/Features.

I also understand that iPod Video is where the video action is going to take place. But I think people want to stream/watch this content around multiple rooms/locations and devices. You shouldn't have to buy one version for high quality home viewing and another version for mobile viewing. It's just opening up another market to monetize the same content. Maybe I'm being a little over-ambitious but I dont want to purchase multiple versions at different quality rates etc. I want a solution that works similar to Mobile DVD players that allow you to watch anything from your home libray whilst you are on the move.

(Pulls hair out)

I think what i'm trying to say is.... If the videos are intended for iPod viewing only; they should be cheaper. If they are intended for multi-purpose viewing/streaming they should up the quality and add features such as Artwork and Extras and charge the $9.99/DVD Prices.
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post #21 of 56
I dunno, the PSP already showed that the mass market is not interested in spending money on portable movies. At least not for the price Sony was pushing for their UMDs. Of course, Apple may be able to convince consumers otherwise, or offer some kind of hook that pulls in the punters.

Either way my only wish is that Apple split the video store away from iTunes to a separate "iVideos" app or whatever, because I find the iTunes interface inefficient and buggy when dealing with video files. Frankly, I find Windows Media Player's approach more usable (gasp!) for video files - a relatively small playlist on the side and the rest of the window used to play the video. I'd like to watch what I'm playing without the player launching a separate window (which after you close it does not stop the video from playing) or playing in a tiny corner of the screen. Full screen is an option of course, but iTunes doesn't offer the lovely on-screen controls that QuickTime 7 (Pro) does.

Oh well...
post #22 of 56
El Stevo needs to let illegal downloading of movies and shrinking theater attendance eat away at the studio's profits for another year before rolling out iTunes movies. That'll learn 'em!

Besides, $9.99 for a DOWNLOAD? Forget that. DVDs are still cheaper to buy and to store than a backed-up version off of iTunes (if that will even be allowed is anyone's guess)... Count me unconvinced. \

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post #23 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by Dazabrit
I could cope with 'Sell to Own' over 'Rental/Subscription if they weren't charging crazy prices! $4.99 (or even $5.99) as mentioned earlier is a more appropriate price. But it still depends on Quality/Features.

I'd rent for $1.99... maybe. But I get a whole lot of rentals off of Netflix right now, so I wouldn't be their customer.

Steve should wash the whole thing out of his hair and move on... to the iPhone.

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post #24 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by palegolas
I hope we'll see rental rather than purchase to own when it comes to feature films. Unlike with music, renting movies is a great business. I just want to rent a movie for a week or so for say $1-4, see it and then trash it. That would really compete with illegal torrent activity.

I'm a little surprised that Apple has been so adamant about a $9.99 per movie model. A monthly access charge is a potential jackpot recurring revenue model for Apple, and the bandwidth can be notched the same way Netflix does it: charge for a certain number of concurrent movies.

Netflix seems like a good price model. Apple customers would be able to to "return" movies and get another one faster because they're not waiting on the mail, but Apple's overhead would be lower than Nexflix because of cheaper distribution.

(For that matter, Apple could BUY Netflix for $1.5B to $2B and get an asset with great brand equity and a devoted, cinefile customer base.)

The other model is PPV: $4 for 24 hours.

Either way, the rental model makes a lot more sense for consumers than the single-purchase model.
post #25 of 56
I'm skeptical about the long-term viability of ~2-hour content on a video iPod. I think that shorter programs like sit-coms and up to 1-hour programs work pretty well for that format. Anything longer than an hour -- like the 2-hour Dave Chappelle Inside the Actors' Studio that I'm STILL working on watching -- becomes too much. Who really has the time to sit down for two hours while they're out and about to watch a movie? Yeah, it might work on flights, but the average commuter, lunch breaker, or on-the-go person will have issues with it. I can watch a half-hour show on my iPod over lunch, and maybe even a 1-hour show (depending on where I eat). There's no way I'd want to watch a movie, though. It's annoying enough having to split up that Actors Studio.
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post #26 of 56
If the iTunes movie store is not happening before next year, do you think this will also delay the 'video' iPod? Jobs had mentioned that it doesn't make sense to him to release a video iPod without movie content on the iTunes store.

What do you think?
post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by NOFEER
so what's the drm on those things, i can dowload, and burn my copy to keep, or do i have to play it on my 14" screen? it's got to make sense to the consumer in the way consumers are used to their dvd's. are they offering first run in the theaters now option, it might pay for a family of four even at 20$ i'd save 20 on popcorn and drinks and therefore get more to "see" the movie. hmmmmm the theater houses will get mad. but the studios want the bucks before they can get pirated.

I think the idea is that we all buy cute Mac Minis & plug 'em into those lovely LCD TVs (or even buy VGA/s-video adaptors for out existing kit). Works really well, definitely the way forward if only iTMS provided content in HiDef. I'd pre-order a Mac Mini BD for $999 today.

McD
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post #28 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by hobBIT
If the iTunes movie store is not happening before next year, do you think this will also delay the 'video' iPod? Jobs had mentioned that it doesn't make sense to him to release a video iPod without movie content on the iTunes store.

What do you think?

i think that's correct. the true video iPod should only hit the stores when either:

a) apple has an itunes movie store (ridiculous name btw) all set up
b) apple ships an application that makes ripping commercial dvds in iPod format as easy as itunes rips cds in mp3/aac/whatever
post #29 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by monkeyastronaut
apple ships an application that makes ripping commercial dvds in iPod format as easy as itunes rips cds in mp3/aac/whatever

When I first read that, I thought "yeah right," but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. The key is that iTunes (or some other app) could put fairplay-like DRM on the DVD content to make sure you couldn't copy it over to someone else's iPod or computer. Basically you could replace DVD copy-protection with Apple's copy protection.
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by BRussell
When I first read that, I thought "yeah right," but the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. The key is that iTunes (or some other app) could put fairplay-like DRM on the DVD content to make sure you couldn't copy it over to someone else's iPod or computer. Basically you could replace DVD copy-protection with Apple's copy protection.

They would have to have DRM agreements with all the studios before they could legally do that. Some may not want their content ripped and Apple's DRM placed on it.
post #31 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by jamezog
I agree - flex prices may be in order, given that movies cost more than CD's (on average), but everyone knows those oldies aren't worth that much. I'll bet Steve will bend on this one.

The thing is that movie pricing changes a lot more often than CDs. A first release might be $20-$30, less than a year later, $15-$20, wait another year $10-15 and eventually they get to the $5-$10 bracket. With CDs, they are sold for maybe $15 and that's pretty much it except for the occasional sale.

I'm not interested in an iTunes movie though. I won't watch on a tiny screen for that long. I don't know if they plan to improve the quality, but I'm not paying for VCD resolution video for watching on my TV or my notebook.
post #32 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by McHuman
To anyone who thinks rentals are better:

Do you think that one has to exclude the other? I think rental and purchases can easily coexist. There are a lot of people that only do one or the other, and there are a lot that do both, depending on the title in question. There are a lot of movies that I want to see and won't pay $10 for the priviledge for many of them, but will pay $2 for an old movie, maybe $4 for a newer one, if the quality and bonus items are equivalent to the DVD version.

It is valid to say that a rental is less profitable than a sale, because for both, the download size is likely the same unless you have value added stuff in the for-sale version only, but I think it would be foolhardy to not offer a rental or time- or play-limited version.
post #33 of 56
No way Apple will introduce "dvd like" quality videos to download...

The standard ( yes, there is already an unofficial standard) they will use is the average P2P download quality.. if the illegal downloaders find this resolution/quality OK, then it will be OK for the market Apple targets.

If you want HD dvd quality, then get the actual DVD.. just like with Mp3 and CD's...
post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
They would have to have DRM agreements with all the studios before they could legally do that. Some may not want their content ripped and Apple's DRM placed on it.

In reality, Apple doesn't need to copy-protect or DRM the DVD discs/DVD content that will be ripped by this purported piece of software.

All they have to do is add a sticker on the video iPod plastic wrapping that says "Do not steal movies. Ne volez pas les films. No robar peliculas." etc.
post #35 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by DeaPeaJay
Who's gonna pay 20 bucks to download a movie from iTunes, when you can spend just as much and get a DVD with features, AND the ability to rip it with HandBrake and get much higher quality?

Someone whose time is more valuable than yours.
post #36 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by wilco
Someone whose time is more valuable than yours.

Ouch. So President Bush is going to sit around on his arse for 3 hours while his precious Michael Moore movie downloads to his computer? Yeah...

Amazon.com can have me a DVD to my door tomorrow for the DVD cost + next day air saver $3.99
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post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally posted by wilco
Someone whose time is more valuable than yours.

Which part, the time to download or the time to rip & encode to iPod?
post #38 of 56
Maybe I'm the dissenter, but I'd buy a current run movie for $9.99, especially for a movie that I'd like to see but am not that enthused about going to the theater for. A movie ticket near where I live costs $9.50 and you have to put up with 20 minutes of ads and previews. If you try to miss the 20 minutes of crap by getting to the theater right before the movie starts, inevitably the theater is packed and you have to sit in the front row. I'd gladly trade that in for a $9.99 download.

However, I would add that by the time the DVD of said movie is released, I certainly wouldn't pay $9.99. I would just use Netflix.

The movie companies have to be careful here. The $19.99 price is ridiculous. They have to also realize downloads are impulse buys. I can totally imagine wanting to see a film, realizing it doesn't play at the theater until an hour from now, and thinking, I'll just download it. I hope it happens.
post #39 of 56
The movie download business sounds fishy to me. The more I think about it, the less I like it.

The problems are all things people have said on this thread: download times, quality, price, features. Add to that the possible end of net-neutrality (in which high-bandwidth-using entities will be charged extortion...i mean, a premium if they want anyone to be able to actually get their content...), and movie downloads becomes a really dicey proposition. Apple is not a company that would want to start something like that, and then pull out because the interested parties were too greedy; it sees little enough from those $0.99 songs as it is.

The real gold mine I think is in a film/video version of iTunes that rips content from the new BDs (and HD-DVDs). While this is not legal for DVDs, it is perfectly legal for the new generation of hi-def disks, thanks to MMC.

This is where Apple should contentrate. Just as it did with iTunes (iTMS only came online after iTunes was around for a while). Video storing and cataloging should be removed from iTunes, and a new app needs to join the iLife family: This app should be able to rip legal copies of these HD movies at whatever rez users want (presets=1080HD, 720HD, DVD, TV, iPod/PSP; and an advanced tab that lets the user customize all the various resolution, bitrate, keyframe, etc. settings). They should be able to rip or omit whatever audio tracks they want. The app should also have the ability to organize a video by a wide variety of tags: type, genre, sub-genre, directors, actors, producers, etc. It should obviously support home movies as well as content from DVRs. And it should support video playlists as well as allow you to burn "mix disks" via iDVD ("iBurner" ...pun intended...or whatever its name is going to be changed to after HD burners come online).

If Apple intros this app along with its media center (featuring a roomy 750GB drive or two ) and a video iPod (with a roomy 80GB drive), and maybe a steroid injected Airport Express with mini-DVI video output, this would actually be an event worth inviting the press to.

But they'll probably already be there, since all this is likely to come at MWSF.

Then let the studios stew in their own juices for a while. They can hardly grumble, since Apple will be encouraging users to buy new HD movies. But Apple will also be putting the media&analyst-driven movie download speculation off until the actual fundamentals are in place (namely broadband speed and saturation).

Hell, maybe a movie DL business will never happen. Apple can still have its media center and video iPod and a content source without all the variables and value-subtraction (more expensive for lower quality and fewer features) of a movie download system with all its interested parties, any one of which could throw a wrench in the system and leave Apple with egg on its face. If Apple decides to go through with it, it will have more leverage, given that any system would have to give value greater than or equal to what users could do on their own.

So whadaya think?
post #40 of 56
what if they would only offer streaming of movies.. maybe not o nice for the iPod (well for the moment.. but buying directly from the iPod is the next step Is suppose)
But would be very nice for Frontrow.
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