Warner Bros, Paramount join iTunes movie rental discussions

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple is closing in on agreements with almost all of the major motion picture studios for an iTunes movie rental service that will serve up 24-hour rentals for $3.99 a pop, according to a published report.



Citing sources, BusinessWeek reports that of the more prominent studios, only Universal -- whose parent company NBC previously yanked its TV shows from iTunes over a pricing dispute -- is not currently discussing a movie deal with Apple.



Specifically, Apple is said to be nearing agreements with Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, and Lionsgate to allow movie sales, rentals, or both through its iTunes digital download service.



The Cupertino-based electronics maker is already reported to have sewn up a similar deal with Twentieth Century Fox for both rentals and sales, which is expected to be announced at next week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco.



Thus far, Apple has faced difficulties translating its success in the digital music business over to film downloads, as Hollywood studios have proven less willing to conform to chief executive Steve Jobs' demand for uniform and low-cost pricing structures. Its Apple TV set-top-box, which serves to stream iTunes movie content to big-screen TVs, has routinely been characterized as a dud by pundits and industry watchers.



Through iTunes, Apple currently offers Disney's movie catalog for sale at prices ranging from $9.99 for library titles to $14.99 for new releases. Other studios, however, have so far balked at deals that would see their own catalogs made available under a similar arrangement.



So what's courted many of the majors out of their standoff with the iTunes operator and back to the bargaining table? Neither the studios nor Apple are talking, but BusinessWeek suggests concessions have been made on the part of Jobs to pay closer to the $17 wholesale price the studios get from "physical" DVD sales by Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers.



For movie sales, it's unclear whether Apple will eat the cost of the higher-priced downloads in order to boost sales of its fledgeling Apple TV device, or pass those costs on to the consumer by raising the sale price of some of the movies it will offer through iTunes.



On the rental front, it's unknown how much studios are demanding for each movie rental, though reports have stated that Twentieth Century Fox has agreed to a deal that will see Apple charge $3.99 for rentals that will expire 24-hours after they've been purchased.



Warner Bros. and Paramount are reportedly mulling agreements that would see their movie catalogs made available on iTunes for both sale and rental through a similar set of arrangements, and Sony is also said to be interest. However, one ongoing source of contention between Apple and the studios is said to be Hollywood's practice of requiring a 30-day grace period between the time new films make their debut on physical DVD and when they are released for electronic distribution.



BusinessWeek says Jobs wants new movies available for download "day and date" with DVD releases so that iPod users can rent them the same day the DVDs become available at Blockbuster, Wal-Mart, and other rental venues.



Fox appears to have backed down from that 30-day requirement, but other studios are still studying the issue, according to the publication. These include Warner Bros., which is said to be "contemplating" the demands, and Disney which has surprisingly declined.



It remains unclear whether studios other than Fox will have inked formal agreements with Apple ahead of next week's Macworld Expo.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    $3.99 for 24 hours? That seems a bit excessive since I can get a movie for a week at Blockbuster for the same amount or at a Redbox for 99 cents per day.



    But people will pay it because they're tools and they like the convenience.



    The movies better be HD, though. I'd pay $3.99 for that.
  • Reply 2 of 58
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,613member
    Yup, first up they need it to be DVD quality or better.



    Second, if along with the rental announcement they include a significant drop in AppleTV prices and/or introudce a version than can play DVDs then they stand a better chance of lighting a fire under their rental/AppleTV business.
  • Reply 3 of 58
    solsunsolsun Posts: 763member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CosmoNut View Post


    $3.99 for 24 hours? That seems a bit excessive since I can get a movie for a week at Blockbuster for the same amount or at a Redbox for 99 cents per day.



    But people will pay it because they're tools and they like the convenience.



    The movies better be HD, though. I'd pay $3.99 for that.



    I think the point is trying to compete with Blockbuster etc... For the same price you have the convenience of not having to drive to and from the video store and never having out of stock titles.. $3.99 seems a pretty standard price when compared to other on demand services.



    However, I do agree that they need to up the quality. HD 720p would be nice, but they need to look at least as good as standard DVD's if they're going to be beamed onto widescreen HD TV sets.
  • Reply 4 of 58
    So, does this link into Leopard and allow any Leopard user to use iTunes to buy the show and view it via the HDMI connector output on my laptop?



    I remember hearing that Leopard's FrontRow is exactly the same as AppleTV.



    If so, that significantly opens up the way for watching videos at my house!!!! That would be very sweet.
  • Reply 5 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CosmoNut View Post


    $3.99 for 24 hours? That seems a bit excessive since I can get a movie for a week at Blockbuster for the same amount or at a Redbox for 99 cents per day.



    But people will pay it because they're tools and they like the convenience.



    The movies better be HD, though. I'd pay $3.99 for that.



    That price is inline with cable company's VOD services, which aren't in high def. That is the most direct competition for this with the added bonus of being able to be used on your iDevices.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    Yup, first up they need it to be DVD quality or better.



    Second, if along with the rental announcement they include a significant drop in AppleTV prices and/or introudce a version than can play DVDs then they stand a better chance of lighting a fire under their rental/AppleTV business.



    How about a stackable compliment to the AppleTV that uses the USB 2.0 (you don't 480Mb/sec for diagnostics) to connect a DVD or Blu-ray player.



    The price point is fine, but an updated version would be in order. Plus, a updated OS that allows for renting of videos and instant viewing, like with iTunes, right from media extender.
  • Reply 6 of 58
    aplnubaplnub Posts: 2,586member
    Dont forget that Apple has some issues with download speed on their movies. I bought two this past weekend and they flew up until there was about 500 MB left and then it took 1.5 hours from that point to complete. I have the highest speed DSL AT&T offers to residential customers where I am at. It's fast...
  • Reply 7 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aplnub View Post


    Dont forget that Apple has some issues with download speed on their movies. I bought two this past weekend and they flew up until there was about 500 MB left and then it took 1.5 hours from that point to complete. I have the highest speed DSL AT&T offers to residential customers where I am at. It's fast...



    I have purchased 87 videos from iTS. I have always gotten excellent speeds, even after Xmas when I figure the servers would be bogged down. I would say that I've averaged 6-7Mb/sec and have seen 17Mb/sec. That is surprising since 16Mb/sec is my supposedly my theoretical maximum from my internet provider.
  • Reply 8 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solsun View Post


    I think the point is trying to compete with Blockbuster etc... For the same price you have the convenience of not having to drive to and from the video store and never having out of stock titles.. $3.99 seems a pretty standard price when compared to other on demand services.



    At $3.99, I'll never go through the inconvenience of getting it setup.



    There is nothing inconvenient about Netflix and I can get many, many more movies for the same amount of money. Furthermore, for the extremely rare moments when I have a visitor who does not want to watch a movie I own or a movie I have via Netflix, I find that the PPV or On-Demand options of Dish Network are sufficient.



    I figure this service would be worthwhile to me at ~$0.50 per rental. $3.99 is simply a ripoff and I hope the Apple can eventually force the studios to recognize this as well.
  • Reply 9 of 58
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ericgorr View Post


    At $3.99, I'll never go through the inconvenience of getting it setup.



    There is nothing inconvenient about Netflix and I can get many, many more movies for the same amount of money. Furthermore, for the extremely rare moments when I have a visitor who does not want to watch a movie I own or a movie I have via Netflix, I find that the PPV or On-Demand options of Dish Network are sufficient.



    I figure this service would be worthwhile to me at ~$0.50 per rental. $3.99 is simply a ripoff and I hope the Apple can eventually force the studios to recognize this as well.



    That is a lot of FUD.
  • Reply 10 of 58
    17 bucks to buy a movie is daylight robbery though. There's no physical purchase, and no special features, no movie artwork insert. You're getting a lot less, and I rarely if ever pay that much for a DVD anyway. Now if it were 720p, I might feel different.
  • Reply 11 of 58
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I would pay $4 for a movie rental, as long as it is at least 720p, since TVs are big these days.



    As for buying... well, DVDs have a lot of extras (Director's commentary etc). And if you're buying a movie to keep, you must really love it, so you would want those things.
  • Reply 12 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    That is a lot of FUD.



    I can go through about 8 movies a month on Netflix one at a time plan that costs $8.99 per month. That works out to about $1.12/movie. I can even get Bluray or HD-DVD movies. So, $3.99 is a lot. However, for people that watch only a few movies a month, this service might be useful.
  • Reply 13 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    That is a lot of FUD.



    I don't know what you are used to paying for rentals, but my Netflix ratio of cost/movie rental works out to be about ~$1.00 - $1.25 a movie, depending on my viewing habits. While $0.50 is almost impossible to hit with bandwidth costs and studio payouts, it's not as far off from my ratio than $3.99.
  • Reply 14 of 58
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    That is a lot of FUD.



    No it isn't. While 50 cents isn't going to happen, most people will not be spending $300 for the privilege of renting movies with no extras for $4 that must be watched within 24 hrs. Sorry.



    Dave
  • Reply 15 of 58
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    iTunes rentals would be one more option we didn't have before. I won't use that a whole lot, but I won't complain when I want it and the option is there.



    It doesn't need to "beat" all other movie options for all people in all situations, and it doesn't need to replace ALL your movie viewing It only needs to have its own strengths in some situations. Which, in terms of speed and convenience, it would have.



    I liked Netflix--their selection can't be beat and I'd pick them over Blockbuster any day--but I quit when their idea of "unlimited" proved to have limits in the fine print. There was no way I could get much better than $3.99 on my 1-at-a-time plan. I watched them as fast as I could--which would in theory be economical--but Netflix doesn't like you watching as fast as you can. They throttled me back to keep me at ~4 movies a month, despite the "unlimited" phrasing. (1 at a time TRULY unlimited could easily have been closer to 8 a month. Would have been nice!)



    Really the main thing I don't like about Netflix is that it's a subscription. I want per-movie rental: I pay more the more I watch. If Netflix offers that, I'm in! If not, my local Blockbuster is awful, so I'll just have to rent (no subscription please) from iTunes and use the library.
  • Reply 16 of 58
    I was tired of reading that a decade ago! No one writes "GM, the Detroit based auto maker", "Allstate, the Northbrook, IL based insurance seller" or "Chevron, the San Ramon, CA based oil company". It doesn't make you sound like a super duper extra smart real journalist. It makes you sound just as stupid as the idiots who started the Cupertino and Redmond thing. Anyone else feel the same?
  • Reply 17 of 58
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post


    No it isn't. While 50 cents isn't going to happen, most people will not be spending $300 for the privilege of renting movies with no extras for $4 that must be watched within 24 hrs. Sorry.



    Dave



    Where did the $300 goal come from? I don't think this service needs to average 100 movies per year per user to be a success. People will use it less often, when they want something NOW, and will still use their other movie rental methods too. It doesn't have to be "either or." You don't have to quit Netflix just to rent a movie from iTunes on the spur of the moment when a friend drops in.
  • Reply 18 of 58
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    Where did the $300 goal come from? I don't think this service needs to average 100 movies per year per user to be a success. People will use it less often, when they want something NOW, and will still use their other movie rental methods too. It doesn't have to be "either or." You don't have to quit Netflix just to rent a movie from iTunes on the spur of the moment when a friend drops in.



    Sorry.



    $300 = Cost of the AppleTV box.



    Dave
  • Reply 19 of 58
    heyjpheyjp Posts: 39member
    The $3.99 doesn't bother me as much as the 24 hours. It would be nice to make it 48 or 72. Then you could download 2 or 3 movies on Friday and have the weekend to watch them. With 24 hours, you can really only download 1 at a time.



    Need to be HD, for sure.



    Jim
  • Reply 20 of 58
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by steviet02 View Post


    I don't know what you are used to paying for rentals, but my Netflix ratio of cost/movie rental works out to be about ~$1.00 - $1.25 a movie, depending on my viewing habits. While $0.50 is almost impossible to hit with bandwidth costs and studio payouts, it's not as far off from my ratio than $3.99.



    I don't think this is is going to be a solution for people who use netflix. It is a solution for the people who make a trip to the local video rental store, or who use PPV - where you pay about $4 to rent a movie.



    I don't rent enough movies to bother with netflix, and when I want to rent something, I want to rent it now. Renting movies from the iTMS is a perfect solution for me.



    Watching them in my Apple TV makes it even better...
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