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Apple well shy of movie rental goals

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
While Apple promised 1,000 movie rentals for the iTunes Store in January, an in-depth search reveals that only 384 movies are available -- and that the rarer-still HD titles scarcely take full advantage of the format.

The catalog represents just 39 percent of the official target set for the end of February and includes just 91 high-definition titles -- 21 of which come from the 1980s and earlier, predating even basic surround sound and providing little actual benefit from the higher resolution or 5.1-channel surround sound that often come with Apple's 720p videos.

Some of these HD movies, such as the Kirk Douglas movie Lust for Life, date back as early as 1956 and predate most modern filmmaking techniques. Other movies, however, lack age as a reason for their stripped-down features: 40 HD movies (26 of which were released before 2000) lack Dolby 5.1-channel audio.

A few movies are even mistakenly labeled. Aliens and Dodgeball are labeled as HD titles but reveal themselves to be standard-definition upon a closer look.

Even if users are willing to pay for a permanent download, Apple supplies just 770 movies regardless of their delivery format, still 230 titles short of what Apple promised just for rentals alone. Of the entire collection, just 384 movies are available for rent.

First alluded to by a tipster in one of AppleInsider's Friday reports, the shortfall puts Apple significantly behind other online rivals, some of which take advantage of links to traditional DVD business. Amazon's Unbox claims 10,442 titles, while the mail-in rental firm offers roughly 6,000 movies -- though in some cases, these titles include anything from instructional videos on marine radar systems to sports matches.



No matter how many full titles are available through each service, however, the deficit tarnishes Apple's attempts to expand its modest iTunes video library. The Mac maker aggressively claimed in January that it "has it right this time" with the Apple TV and has pushed its video rental service since its Macworld San Francisco debut, going so far as to promote 99-cent weekly rentals ever since the Apple TV's version 2.0 firmware upgrade in mid-February.
post #2 of 68
It is a slow start. And quite confusing considering that you would think they would have a dedicated team who's sole job it is to gather masters from the studios and encode them. They should be putting 20 or 30 new movies up each week!

I do have to take issue with one statement in this article though. To say there is no benefit to downloading movies made prior to the 1980's in HD is just silly. Anything shot on film- from ANY time period- is much higher definition than 720. In general, film is rated at 4K, and some 1940's Technicolor films with separated colour elements can be rated as high as 6K. MANY of the film I personally look forward to seeing most in HD are pre-1980; and most films that have seen a DVD release in the last 10 years have been given surround remixes, so that statistic is also dubious.
post #3 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

No matter how many full titles are available through each service, however, the deficit tarnishes Apple's attempts to expand its modest iTunes video library.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely the number of titles available will be dictated by the content owners (studios) being tardy in supplying the titles to Apple?

This hardly tarnishes Apple. This is evidence that the studios are once again telling the consumer how they are to use their hard-earned for poor return.

The current 24hr model has so many holes in it.

Criticise the studios who provide the content, not the system that is trying to deliver it (making money for all along the way)
post #4 of 68
Whether this a problem on Apple's end or reneging by the content providers (as the number of total movies was just over 800 at one point) this makes Apple look bad,
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post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmoeser View Post

is hardly tarnishes Apple. This is evidence that the studios are once again telling the consumer how they are to use their hard-earned for poor return.

It doesn't have to be Apple's fault for them to be tarnished. Steve made a claim of the number of rentals to expect and you are watching them with a device made by Apple.

When Apple did the battery recall for all those faulty batteries that Sony made.... Apple looks bad.
When an antagonist in a movie uses a Mac to bring down a government... Apple takes the fall.
When the US government purchases Xserves for use in Iraq... Apple was accused of starting the war.
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post #6 of 68
This does tarnish Apple if they claimed they'd have number of titles certain by a date certain. This is very embarrassing for Steve and for Apple.

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post #7 of 68
Up here in Western Canada, all we have is Shaw Cable for an 'On Demand' option (without going to satellite). The digital box costs $450 and a basic digital cable package is around $80/month. That doesn't include any movie channels or HDTV.
The 'on demand' offerings are lame. We get about 8 - 10 new movies a month, of which 6 are total shit titles like "Jerry Springer - Undressed". There are probably only 100 movies at any given time available for download of which 10 are new releases.

Now the fun part, the quality is horrific. Picture is pixilated, artifacts galore, stalling, hickups and sometimes movies just get dropped. This is because our cable provider wants our government to update their servers. Basically, it's a massive bandwidth problem. (watching a movie at 3am is mostly fine)
None of the movies are in HD and all in 2 channel.

This hockey season, there has been 17 PPV games so far, none in HD. And of all those, only 2 didn't have massive disruptions, blackouts, glitches, or just plain dead air. All that for $12.99.

All this points to one thing... We will never see Apple TV in Canada. To do so would destroy our oh-so-loved cable companies.
Apple TV is flying off the shelves, but thats only because we are a torrent mad country. Apple would have to have over 30% of all it's content 'Canadian Made' before our CRTC would allow the service. Shows like "Anne of Green Gables" and movies like "Brazil"... in other words, it would look like our National channel CBC.

If Apple was able to provide it's service up here, you can bet that it would instantly have millions of customers overnight... and we would be gobbling up those 387 movies with a smile.
So we may have Universal healthcare... but we are 3rd world when it comes to media streaming.
Socialism has it's downsides.
post #8 of 68
Quote:
Some of these HD movies, such as the Kirk Douglas movie Lust for Life, date back as early as 1956 and predate most modern filmmaking techniques.

I'm not entirely sure what the author means by this sentence. It seems to allude that this film is not HD and does not have surround sound is because it was made so long ago.

This would be wrong. The filmmaking technique does not necessarily determine its presentation. Film from any era can be scanned into an HD format. Surround sound is created in post production sound mixing.
post #9 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

This does tarnish Apple if they claimed they'd have number of titles certain by a date certain. This is very embarrassing for Steve and for Apple.

If this were a Japanese company Steve would step down or commit Seppuku.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

So we may have Universal healthcare... but we are 3rd world when it comes to media streaming. Socialism has it's downsides.

But we don't get to enjoy the "hillarity" of Little Mosque on the Prairie. Seriously though, it does suck that content can't be sold to people all over the world at the same time.
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post #10 of 68
Tell me, oh wise ones of this forum and others like it . . . Is it time to sell the company and give the money back to the shareholders? Sure sounds like it. I guess Michael Dell was right after all.
post #11 of 68
Just bought an Apple TV and its awesome..a game changer. So many things to use it for, including podcasts in HD. If you haven't checked it out do so;even better than having a large screen(in my case 32" )HD video ipod. It makes You Tube so much more enjoyable(in better quality and on a huge screen). In the future, I can see this or something like it killing blockbuster and Netflix regular service...its great...even better quality movie rental than I can get from my cable service..similar to a DVD...and I'm not even talking about the HD rentals.
post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by nothowie View Post

Just bought an Apple TV and its awesome..a game changer. So many things to use it for, including podcasts in HD. If you haven't checked it out do so;even better than having a large screen(in my case 32" )HD video ipod. It makes You Tube so much more enjoyable(in better quality and on a huge screen). In the future, I can see this or something like it killing blockbuster and Netflix regular service...its great...even better quality movie rental than I can get from my cable service..similar to a DVD...and I'm not even talking about the HD rentals.

Hi Steve!
post #13 of 68
I bought a 40 gig Apple TV back when it was first introduced - it was great back then and is simply amazing with the software upgrade. The size of the rental library is not under Apple's control as mentioned by others in this thread. The studio's promised Steve that they would deliver and they are - but not according to the "agreed-upon" schedule. Does this make Steve or Apple look bad? To the people who don't know how these things work maybe. I think most folks are going to be happy that new movies keep showing up in the listings. The rental experience is great the vast majority of the time ( I had a hiccup in one rental but Apple took care of it promptly and to my complete satisfaction).

Apple TV is a game changer - check it out for yourself!


Stan Timek
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in development - www.HD4appleTV.com
an HD distribution site for independent film makers and video producers
post #14 of 68
How DARE you imply Apple did something wrong!!??? This is clearly the studios faults! Apple never does ANYTHING even REMOTELY less than perfect! And Steve's turds smell like flowers.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuneman07 View Post

How DARE you imply Apple did something wrong!!??? This is clearly the studios faults! Apple never does ANYTHING even REMOTELY less than perfect! And Steve's turds smell like flowers.

And what about his tears? Tell us about his tears!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If this were a Japanese company Steve would step down or commit Seppuku.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

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post #17 of 68
Its strange to me that this happened. At the show floor at MacWorld an Apple guy told me that they already had 1000 movies up there for rent, they were just being conservative. I can't imagine what wait is. You'd think they would be just ripping DVDs for now to fill the catalog.
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

This does tarnish Apple if they claimed they'd have number of titles certain by a date certain. This is very embarrassing for Steve and for Apple.

Why so many people insist on taking everything Jobs says literally and insisting that the company follows it to the letter is way beyond me. Circumstances change things. And CEOs often state goals and then miss them by a week or two. Vista was several YEARS behind schedule; I don't remember many people calling for Bill Gates' head on a platter.

The fact that Apple doesn't have exactly 1000 titles available by March 1 is not the problem. That they have far fewer than that is beginning to look like a problem, if it doesn't change in a month or so. Fixating yourself on a particular date or a particular number is rather pointless.

I have no doubt the library will grow. How fast it grows is what will determine the overall success of Apple TV 2.0 and the future of iTunes video.
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjoec123 View Post

The fact that Apple doesn't have exactly 1000 titles available by March 1 is not the problem. That they have far fewer than that is beginning to look like a problem, if it doesn't change in a month or so. Fixating yourself on a particular date or a particular number is rather pointless.

Still, I wish Steve had said something like "we have commitments from film studios
for over 1000 movies to be available for iTunes rental by the end of February". It
would have been weasel-like, but the current situation would have been slightly
less disappointing. Also I am getting a queasy feeling that Apple is starting to use
a perverted form of "management by expectations" in the recent series of slipped
deadlines. Making a public statement of due dates, which later turn out to have
been unrealistic, is demoralizing to Apple employees who are, no doubt, working
their asses off trying to meet the deadlines.
post #20 of 68
Anyone bother to do the math?

When browsing MOVIES:

Action & Adventure: 154 items
Anime: 3
Classics: 15
Comedy: 236
Documentary: 32
Drama: 239
Foreign: 1
Holiday: 8 items
Horror: 60 items
Indepedent: 37 items
Kids & Family: 118 items
Music: 24 items
Romance: 56 items
Sci-Fi- & Fantasy: 78 items
Short Films: 253 items
Special Interest: 2 items
Sports: 23 items
Thriller: 102 items
Urban: 12 items
Western: 29 items


That comes in just under 1,500 movies, almost 50% MORE than the 1,000 promised, and 100% MORE than the writer is giving them credit for. And I'd bet that if we go back and watch the keynote, there was something in Jobs' wording that left open the possibility that 1,000 would be available, but not yet available for rent, by this point.
post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Whether this a problem on Apple's end or reneging by the content providers (as the number of total movies was just over 800 at one point) this makes Apple look bad,

It makes Apple look bad when people associate the problem with Apple. This article should have targeted the problem to the movie studios NOT Apple. People believe what they see and read, just like the news, so it's no wonder why Apple is gonna get the blame for this.
post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by 11thIndian View Post

It is a slow start. And quite confusing considering that you would think they would have a dedicated team who's sole job it is to gather masters from the studios and encode them. They should be putting 20 or 30 new movies up each week!

Apple doesn't encode the films, Tv shows, or music videos, themselves. The studios do that. I believe the same is true for all the music as well.
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuneman07 View Post

How DARE you imply Apple did something wrong!!??? This is clearly the studios faults! Apple never does ANYTHING even REMOTELY less than perfect! And Steve's turds smell like flowers.

I really hope you were being sarcastic. For your own sake
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by robgreene View Post

Anyone bother to do the math?
...
That comes in just under 1,500 movies, almost 50% MORE than the 1,000 promised, and 100% MORE than the writer is giving them credit for.

You are talking about all movies available in iTunes.
The story is about rentals.
iTunes shows ~19 pages with 21 movies per page.

Quote:
And I'd bet that if we go back and watch the keynote, there was something in Jobs' wording that left open the possibility that 1,000 would be available, but not yet available for rent, by this point.

They are available but they are not available?
post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by robgreene View Post

That comes in just under 1,500 movies, almost 50% MORE than the 1,000 promised, and 100% MORE than the writer is giving them credit for. And I'd bet that if we go back and watch the keynote, there was something in Jobs' wording that left open the possibility that 1,000 would be available, but not yet available for rent, by this point.

have you ever heard that a film can be listed in different genres at once? yes, there are films which are comedy, drama AND anime!
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Apple doesn't encode the films, Tv shows, or music videos, themselves. The studios do that. I believe the same is true for all the music as well.

i am very sure apple will encode the films. this is the only way how they can ensure that the right codec is used. that way they can also recode the films once quicktime changes dramatically.
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by bodypainter View Post

i am very sure apple will encode the films. this is the only way how they can ensure that the right codec is used. that way they can also recode the films once quicktime changes dramatically.

That's absurd. Everyone will know the proper codec to use. Do you think they are posters on a forum? These are professional studios, producing billions of dollars of movies, and Tv shows a year, of course they know the codecs!

Studios don't want to hand off the job to outsiders. They want control over the final product, which is as it should be. They are responsible for doing the compression properly. this is a much bigger job than just dropping it into itunes, and seeing what comes out.
post #28 of 68
You know if Apple wasn't showing such an absolute disdain for DVDs (Steve Jobs on iLife 08: "There are some people who still want to make DVDs" :P, no update for DVD Studio Pro in Final Cut Studio 2 :P, no DVD drive in the Air :P, etc.) I wouldn't be so happy to hear about this. In general I hate the download-to-own system, I'm fine with download-to-rent, can't see why Apple continues to spit at optical media.
post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

If this were a Japanese company Steve would step down or commit Seppuku.



But we don't get to enjoy the "hillarity" of Little Mosque on the Prairie. Seriously though, it does suck that content can't be sold to people all over the world at the same time.

And at the same PRICE
post #30 of 68
much as I hate to admit it, There are only 293 total films available for rental and less than 800 total with many being older less desirable films (unless seeing Arnold in "Hercules in New York" is your idea of super!).

I have a 160Gb AppleTV and love it and the service, but it seems they are determined to screw it up by not releasing new content as promised or even advertise the dang thing. I have been checking everyday waiting for the flood of promised rentals to appear so I can dump my netflix subscription, but the trickle of 4-8 main stream movies per week just hasnt reached critical mass in my opinion.
post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlashmanBurgess View Post

It makes Apple look bad when people associate the problem with Apple. This article should have targeted the problem to the movie studios NOT Apple. People believe what they see and read, just like the news, so it's no wonder why Apple is gonna get the blame for this.

OT
Totally agree... and the problem is: when you say this you must be an Apple fanatic. And the jokes about Steve pop up in the thread.

Apple is doing a wonderful job in the last years. This is a fact.
/OT
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by 11thIndian View Post

I do have to take issue with one statement in this article though. To say there is no benefit to downloading movies made prior to the 1980's in HD is just silly. Anything shot on film- from ANY time period- is much higher definition than 720. In general, film is rated at 4K, and some 1940's Technicolor films with separated colour elements can be rated as high as 6K. MANY of the film I personally look forward to seeing most in HD are pre-1980; and most films that have seen a DVD release in the last 10 years have been given surround remixes, so that statistic is also dubious.

Hear! Hear!

The article should be corrected.
it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
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it's = it is / it has, its = belonging to it.
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post #33 of 68
Well, Take 2 was two weeks late, surely we can assume that possibly the numbers of movies to rent would be two weeks behind schedule as well?
post #34 of 68
If I am not mistaken the whole 'Apple TV Take 2' thing was pushed back several weeks after the initial Mac World announcement. Therefore it seems reasonable to assume all related dates may well be pushed back by a similar time frame. So I would suggest we give Apple another few weeks or so before getting our knickers in a twist (I can't recall the exact delay of 'Take 2'). If by mid April still nothing, I will also start moaning

I also agree with those saying old movies are worthy of 720p. Of course film is always worth scanning at high res! Plus modern technology can colorize, clean up and make amazing new versions. Witness the job done on Hitchcock's classics such as Vertigo. Bring on the new version of 'It's a Wonderful Life' by next Christmas
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

Tell me, oh wise ones of this forum and others like it . . . Is it time to sell the company and give the money back to the shareholders? Sure sounds like it. I guess Michael Dell was right after all.

The sky is falling!
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

Tell me, oh wise ones of this forum and others like it . . . Is it time to sell the company and give the money back to the shareholders? Sure sounds like it. I guess Michael Dell was right after all.

Good one
Of course Dell doing so well these days, I see they are second in higher education ...
Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by rain View Post

Up here in Western Canada, all we have is Shaw Cable for an 'On Demand' option (without going to satellite). The digital box costs $450 and a basic digital cable package is around $80/month. That doesn't include any movie channels or HDTV.
The 'on demand' offerings are lame. We get about 8 - 10 new movies a month, of which 6 are total shit titles like "Jerry Springer - Undressed". There are probably only 100 movies at any given time available for download of which 10 are new releases.

Now the fun part, the quality is horrific. Picture is pixilated, artifacts galore, stalling, hickups and sometimes movies just get dropped. This is because our cable provider wants our government to update their servers. Basically, it's a massive bandwidth problem. (watching a movie at 3am is mostly fine)
None of the movies are in HD and all in 2 channel.

This hockey season, there has been 17 PPV games so far, none in HD. And of all those, only 2 didn't have massive disruptions, blackouts, glitches, or just plain dead air. All that for $12.99.

All this points to one thing... We will never see Apple TV in Canada. To do so would destroy our oh-so-loved cable companies.
Apple TV is flying off the shelves, but thats only because we are a torrent mad country. Apple would have to have over 30% of all it's content 'Canadian Made' before our CRTC would allow the service. Shows like "Anne of Green Gables" and movies like "Brazil"... in other words, it would look like our National channel CBC.

If Apple was able to provide it's service up here, you can bet that it would instantly have millions of customers overnight... and we would be gobbling up those 387 movies with a smile.
So we may have Universal healthcare... but we are 3rd world when it comes to media streaming.
Socialism has it's downsides.

Well, I am in Canada as well and will agree with the comments regarding the poor on-demand offerings. I am not with Shaw - but the experience is the same.

I have had an Apple Tv since it first came out and love it. NOw that 5.1 is avail as an output, I have been re-encoding all of our DVD's once again. Lot's of work, but worth it.

I also have some US iTunes gift cards and have been using them to RENT movies through Apple TV. I have to say, honestly, that it works better than any other service I have tried - and it also integrates the rest of our digital life. I have no probelm buying US gift cards and using them here - I get to rent movies. I would suggest this for any other Canadians who travel regularly to the US.

There will be more movies - as it is in Apple's interest - and I look forward to that. They need to concentrate on 5.1 for all movies and then 720p - in that order of importance. I tend to want real 5.1 in the movie I rent - and don't mind the lower video quality - as it still looks good on my 42 LCD.

Um, and one last comment to my fellow Canadian. The CRTC gets blamed for this stuff all the time. They are simply not to blame - nor are they even involved in this. They do not mandate 30% content for any movies in Canada - on air or at the theatre. This is an issue with the studios and their Canadian distributors - who all want revenue. Apple will negotiate the same deals as your Shaw On Demand service and we will get movies - without CRTC involvement.
post #38 of 68
my wife says that steve's poop is road apples and he pee's apple juice
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by robgreene View Post

Anyone bother to do the math?

When browsing MOVIES:

Action & Adventure: 154 items
Anime: 3
Classics: 15
Comedy: 236
Documentary: 32
Drama: 239
Foreign: 1
Holiday: 8 items
Horror: 60 items
Indepedent: 37 items
Kids & Family: 118 items
Music: 24 items
Romance: 56 items
Sci-Fi- & Fantasy: 78 items
Short Films: 253 items
Special Interest: 2 items
Sports: 23 items
Thriller: 102 items
Urban: 12 items
Western: 29 items


That comes in just under 1,500 movies, almost 50% MORE than the 1,000 promised, and 100% MORE than the writer is giving them credit for. And I'd bet that if we go back and watch the keynote, there was something in Jobs' wording that left open the possibility that 1,000 would be available, but not yet available for rent, by this point.

Sure but many count in 2 or more categories e.g Romance/Drama or Comedy/Kids & Family or the dreaded Comedy/Romance. I just hooked up my Mac as my main dvd/media center and I never reallized how truly pathetic the movie selection is. I really don't get why the TV studios don't get behind the rental format. It would be great to HD versions of every TV show made in the past 20 years (including current shows) that you could rent for say $.49 cents each. People could plan exactly what they'd want to watch, on any given night. I'd probably end up spending $30 a month on tv with such a model. And it would be a much more fun way to watch television, sort of like a Tivo of everything ever. Come to think of it, if "everything ever" was available I'd probably be spending more like $60 a month between movie rentals, tv episode and tv "subscription rentals". And this money wouldn't be going to cable companies. Wouldn't the studios be making money with such a model. This would probably provide a much more steady income stream for older shows that no one want's to pick up for syndication. Actor and Writers would probably really benefit from this model (as long as they made something worth watching). I mean if Max Headroom resurfaced on iTunes how many people would check it out again. 2 nights ago I just watched a few Johnny Socko and his Flying Robot episodes on Netflix (thank you VMware) and I was awesome. Shows like that have no chance on broadcast/cable/satelite, there's a limited market to begin with and you really have to be "in the mood" to enjoy it. Something that makes the Sci Fi channel less interesting to me.
As it is right now I'm happy with just having ATSC broadcasts, currently episode from the networks on their websites and the hodge podge of programming from iTunes, Netflix, unBox and Movielink. I'll never get cable/satellite. However it would be really nice if Apple could tie it all together from my Apple remote so I wouldn't have to read websites and use a keyboard to watch tv.
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by petermac View Post

And at the same PRICE

There are a lot of items that sell at different prices around the world at the same time. One factor is desirability in the particular market. Others are the added cost of regulatory requirements, taxes and licensing to provide such goods. It's not as simple as just saying "same price everywhere."
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