Apple expected to announce new movie sales in iTunes

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
According to an article in Hollywood Reporter, Apple is expected to announce as early as Thursday a new deal with a wide array of major and mini studios to offer many new movie releases, including a broad slate of top-shelf films, for direct purchase at its iTunes Store at the same as their DVD release. [Update: Apple has formally announced the deal.]



The movie sales deal is an expansion of the January announcement that presented movie rentals in iTunes from all the major studios. Only a few movie studios, including Disney, had earlier agreed to sell their movies in iTunes starting in 2006, with the others cautiously testing the waters only in movie rentals beginning earlier this year.



Rental only titles now for sale



Apple originally only offered direct movie sales, not rentals, in a strategy that hoped to replicate the success of iTunes in selling music. The other studios were apparently worried that direct movie downloads would eat into physical DVD sales and anger high volume DVD movie retailers such as Wal-Mart. While Apple now sells more music than any other retailer, its movie business is still brand new. Fears of upsetting the current DVD retailers, who saw Apple as a looming threat in movies after having eaten up the lion's share of music sales, were certainly valid given the market power those retailers wield over existing DVD sales.



However, the popularity of Apple's iTunes has demonstrated an enthusiastic demand for digital downloads, which has reportedly been dramatic enough to prompt all the majors to offer their movie catalogs both for sale and for rent. The studios expected to be included in the movie sales announcement are Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and New Line. The deal reportedly will not include new titles from MGM but does extend to boutique firms such as Magnolia and Image Entertainment.



The movie rentals deal announced in January was tied to the release of the Take Two software update for Apple TV and updates for iTunes, the iPhone, and current iPods to allow users to rent titles for a 30 day period for $3 to $4, with select titles being offered in high definition from Apple TV. The new studios' titles have only available for rent, not for sale, which resulted in some confusion for iTunes users.



No business like show business



Today's announcement is also expected to release new numbers outlining the success of Apple's movie revenue to date. Back in March, Disney CEO Bob Iger publicly stated that its studios had sold 4 million movies via iTunes since partnering with Apple to become the first movie studio to sign up in 2006. Outside of Disney, MGM, and Paramount, a few major new releases from other studios have already been offered for sale in recent weeks on iTunes, including Fox's "Juno."



Apple originally announced plans to have a thousand movie titles available for rental, but many of those titles were held up by complications in establishing the digital rights required to offer them outside of DVD releases. Many writers and other talent have historically only signed off on royalties involving theater and DVD releases, so progress in digital downloads has hit some snags as the business adjusts to support iTunes' direct download distribution.



Convincing the movie studios to follow Apple's lead has apparently been a little more difficult than signing on music labels or lining up TV content. Many of the download-to-own titles offered by the early participating movie studios were limited to older titles. Apple's ability to sell those titles has encouraged the studios to expand their offerings both in the scope of their library selection and in the option to buy movies directly rather than only renting.



Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes announced yesterday that Warner Bros. will experiment with video on demand releases simultaneous with DVDs. Apple's new movie deal was originally expected to be announced earlier in the week at the fifth anniversary of iTunes on Monday. The announcement will put significant pressure on other online movie rental services as well as Amazon's Unbox and Microsoft Xbox Live Marketplace, which both rent and sell movies but have not been able to report significant movie downloads.



Update: Apple in an official press release has now confirmed that releases and catalog titles will be available from 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, Image Entertainment and First Look Studios.



"We're thrilled to bring iTunes Store customers new films for purchase day-and-date with the DVD release," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "We think movie fans will love being able to buy their favorites from major and independent studios."



New releases available for purchase on the iTunes Store this week, concurrent with their DVD release, include "American Gangster" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Other popular titles now available for purchase include "Juno," "Cloverfield," "I Am Legend," "There Will Be Blood," "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story."



Movies purchased from iTunes can be viewed on an iPod with video, iPhone, Mac or PC or on a widescreen TV with Apple TV, with new releases priced at $14.99 and most catalog titles at $9.99.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    pmoeserpmoeser Posts: 79member
    Still can't buy damn tv shows or iPhones here.



    Who cares about movie rentals...
  • Reply 2 of 33
    gigigigi Posts: 65member
    I want rental in CAANAAADAAAAA.
  • Reply 3 of 33
    zenwaveszenwaves Posts: 82member
    Who wants to purchase every movie they want to watch?



    E.g.: Last night the local station is playing "Stargate". Suddenly, I have the desire to watch the film, unedited, and without commercials. Go to the iTunes store but it is only available to purchase. Like I want to spend ten bucks to download a cheap thrill? Enter BitTorrent. An hour and half later, I had my consumer desired fulfilled, and two companies (at least) lost the opportunity to make some money.



    Sad.
  • Reply 4 of 33
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Me. I would purchase movies. I would purchase them in HD via AppleTV if I could. I rented my first HD movie last weekend and it looked great. I'd have loved to have been able to then pay an extra fee to keep the movie...



    So far it seems purchasing is limited to standard definition...
  • Reply 5 of 33
    walshbjwalshbj Posts: 864member
    Here's the official press release
  • Reply 6 of 33
    kreshkresh Posts: 379member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zenwaves View Post


    Who wants to purchase every movie they want to watch?



    E.g.: Last night the local station is playing "Stargate". Suddenly, I have the desire to watch the film, unedited, and without commercials. Go to the iTunes store but it is only available to purchase. Like I want to spend ten bucks to download a cheap thrill? Enter BitTorrent. An hour and half later, I had my consumer desired fulfilled, and two companies (at least) lost the opportunity to make some money.



    Sad.



    Another nefarious theft.



    Sad.
  • Reply 7 of 33
    achieverachiever Posts: 23member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zenwaves View Post


    Who wants to purchase every movie they want to watch?



    E.g.: Last night the local station is playing "Stargate". Suddenly, I have the desire to watch the film, unedited, and without commercials. Go to the iTunes store but it is only available to purchase. Like I want to spend ten bucks to download a cheap thrill? Enter BitTorrent. An hour and half later, I had my consumer desired fulfilled, and two companies (at least) lost the opportunity to make some money.



    Sad.



    Ummm, in case you missed it, Apple did begin offering movies to rent about two months ago. Unfortunately for your needs they have been unable to offer the internet's bit torrent back catalog in the limited time between then and now. And frankly, of all the movies Apple is looking to add to their available rental catalog, I am pretty sure Stargate is rather low on their priority list.



    My point: more movies are coming to iTunes rental, keep your pants on. The ability to buy these movies, and on their same release day as DVD is HUGE to potentially establish Apple and iTunes and the potential long term dominant market leader in movie sales that it currently is for music. Apple can now offer services that companies like Netflix & Blockbuster cannot. And, it moves the industry ever closer, albeit step-by-step, to it's future of downloadable content (HD included) thus bypassing Blu-Ray as "the mainstream." Good times all around.
  • Reply 8 of 33
    Day and date rentals would get me excited. I don't foresee myself having a large collection of iTunes movies that I own. I have too many concerns about the so called "infinite format war".
  • Reply 9 of 33
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Now if only they would sell HD downloads.
  • Reply 10 of 33
    caliminiuscaliminius Posts: 944member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by zenwaves View Post


    Who wants to purchase every movie they want to watch?



    E.g.: Last night the local station is playing "Stargate". Suddenly, I have the desire to watch the film, unedited, and without commercials. Go to the iTunes store but it is only available to purchase. Like I want to spend ten bucks to download a cheap thrill? Enter BitTorrent. An hour and half later, I had my consumer desired fulfilled, and two companies (at least) lost the opportunity to make some money.



    Sad.



    Yes it is sad.



    Sad that your impatience is enough for you to justify pirating a film.



    Say you're Wal-mart and see the DVD for Stargate on sale for $10. You want it but don't think it's worth that price so you shove it in your coat and shoplift it from the store. What's different about this scenario and what you did?



    And people wonder why the music and film industries have been so strongly pushing DRM...
  • Reply 11 of 33
    ammoniadammoniad Posts: 7member
    But at what resolution???



    I'd love to buy movies on iTunes to watch on my TV, but if its ipod-screen resolution, it'll look like junk, no?
  • Reply 12 of 33
    federmoosefedermoose Posts: 195member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloodstains View Post


    Day and date rentals would get me excited. I don't foresee myself having a large collection of iTunes movies that I own. I have too many concerns about the so called "infinite format war".



    DVD + RipDifferent.com my good sir. Solves all problems =D
  • Reply 13 of 33
    federmoosefedermoose Posts: 195member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Yes it is sad.



    Sad that your impatience is enough for you to justify pirating a film.



    Say you're Wal-mart and see the DVD for Stargate on sale for $10. You want it but don't think it's worth that price so you shove it in your coat and shoplift it from the store. What's different about this scenario and what you did?



    And people wonder why the music and film industries have been so strongly pushing DRM...



    No physical distribution (which costs more money than a file) was stolen. You're completely off the mark here. Plus, he deleted the file I'm sure, so its the effect of shoplifting, then coming to put it back. Granted, its not great, but its not the black-and-while scenario you just put forth.
  • Reply 14 of 33
    federmoosefedermoose Posts: 195member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AmmoniaD View Post


    But at what resolution???



    I'd love to buy movies on iTunes to watch on my TV, but if its ipod-screen resolution, it'll look like junk, no?



    iTunes movies are higher than iPod res, I think they are about 720 now (correct me if I'm wrong). Then again, they don't look that good on my 23" Apple Cinema Display. But... most TV's resolutions suck anyways, at least compared to the glory of 1920 x 1600...
  • Reply 15 of 33
    nanoakronnanoakron Posts: 122member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by caliminius View Post


    Yes it is sad.



    Sad that your impatience is enough for you to justify pirating a film.



    Say you're Wal-mart and see the DVD for Stargate on sale for $10. You want it but don't think it's worth that price so you shove it in your coat and shoplift it from the store. What's different about this scenario and what you did?



    And people wonder why the music and film industries have been so strongly pushing DRM...



    I think the difference is that physical shoplifting would get you a small fine and probably some community service. For internet 'piracy', the law will bend you over and rape you for every penny that you're worth.



    Clearly, 'piracy' is far more evil.



    /sarcasm off
  • Reply 16 of 33
    zenwaveszenwaves Posts: 82member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Achiever View Post


    Ummm, in case you missed it, Apple did begin offering movies to rent about two months ago. Unfortunately for your needs they have been unable to offer the internet's bit torrent back catalog in the limited time between then and now. And frankly, of all the movies Apple is looking to add to their available rental catalog, I am pretty sure Stargate is rather low on their priority list.



    My point: more movies are coming to iTunes rental, keep your pants on.



    Perhaps the exclamation mark in my post led you to believe that I had my pants off?



    I'm well aware of everything you mentioned, and was simply pointing out that more people want to rent movies instead of purchasing. Steve Jobs stated this when he made the case for owning, rather than renting music.



    What I was hinting at, is that I think it would've been a bigger deal had they announced same day rentals.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by federmoose View Post


    No physical distribution (which costs more money than a file) was stolen. You're completely off the mark here. Plus, he deleted the file I'm sure, so its the effect of shoplifting, then coming to put it back. Granted, its not great, but its not the black-and-while scenario you just put forth.



    Congratulations on the most disingenuous justification for theft I've ever seen.

    I'm against DRM, but as the original poster said, this helps you understand why the industry is paranoid about users who think its only theft if you steal atoms.
  • Reply 18 of 33
    federmoosefedermoose Posts: 195member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post


    Congratulations on the most disingenuous justification for theft I've ever seen.

    I'm against DRM, but as the original poster said, this helps you understand why the industry is paranoid about users who think its only theft if you steal atoms.



    you misunderstood. I didn't justify, I just explained that it wasn't the doom and gloom scenario that was originally put forth. stealing content is wrong, I never said otherwise.
  • Reply 19 of 33
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by federmoose View Post


    you misunderstood. I didn't justify, I just explained that it wasn't the doom and gloom scenario that was originally put forth. stealing content is wrong, I never said otherwise.



    Sorry, but...



    "Enter BitTorrent. An hour and half later, I had my consumer desired fulfilled, and two companies (at least) lost the opportunity to make some money."



    He stole it, even if its just a 'viewing' that he stole. Doesn't matter if its 'doom and gloom'.



    That said, I'm personally annoyed at the push for purchase rather than rental. I want to own very few movies. Hopefully this is just the beginning of the rental wave. I rented my first iTunes Store movie last week and it was a great experience.
  • Reply 20 of 33
    djames42djames42 Posts: 298member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by federmoose View Post


    iTunes movies are higher than iPod res, I think they are about 720 now (correct me if I'm wrong). Then again, they don't look that good on my 23" Apple Cinema Display. But... most TV's resolutions suck anyways, at least compared to the glory of 1920 x 1600...



    Current iTunes movies (those purchased) are 480p (slightly better than DVD which is effectively 480i, although much of that is diminished by the higher bitrate of a DVD). Current purchased iTunes movies are also not 5.1 encoded.



    iTunes rentals can be (for a subset of the catalog) found in 720p with full 5.1 sound.



    I won't be buying many moves until they are available in full HD.
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