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Apple Is In Talks With Hollywood For Early Access To Movies On iTunes: Bloomberg (bloomberg.com) 51

Apple is talking with Hollywood studios to try and get iTunes rentals of movies that are still playing on the big screen. According to a report from Bloomberg, "some studio executives have been pushing to allow home rentals as early as two weeks after theatrical debuts and are considering a deal with iTunes as one option." Bloomberg reports: The most recent talks are part of longer-running efforts by Cupertino, California-based Apple to get new movies sooner, two of the people said. Such an arrangement could help iTunes stand out in a crowded online market for movies, TV shows and music. While the iTunes store helped Apple build a dominant role in music retailing, the company hasn't carved out a similar role in music and video streaming. Hollywood studios typically give theaters exclusive rights to new movies for 90 days or more before issuing them on DVD or making them available for online purchase. One of the concerns about iTunes is whether it will be a secure platform for delivering movies that are still in theaters, the people said. While Apple encrypts iTunes video files so they can't easily be duplicated, it's possible to use a camera to record a movie playing on a TV screen. A leak of picture that's still in theaters would jeopardize returns for the studios and cinema owners.
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Apple Is In Talks With Hollywood For Early Access To Movies On iTunes: Bloomberg

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  • by GPS Pilot ( 3683 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @09:43PM (#53443985)

    I'm not, of course, talking about an iTunes rental price that remains constant.

    It would have to be a price that starts out extremely high -- high enough to more than offset the losses resulting from decreased theater attendance and piracy -- then decays exponentially [wikipedia.org], asymptotically approaching what one currently pays for an iTunes rental.

    The studios would definitely be leaving money on the table by saying no to this idea.

    The fun part for financial geeks would be to figure out the decay constant that would maximize revenue for a particular title. The rental price for a movie like Titanic, which played in theaters for months, should decay much more slowly than for a movie like Ishtar.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      It's a protection racket by the cinemas, most chains will refuse to show any movie that doesn't have an exclusivity period. As long as they stay united on this and only B-movies can survive on a direct to TV/DVD budget, nothing will change. It's pretty obvious they'd all lose business if they let competitors enter the market, so they don't.

    • by imidan ( 559239 )

      It would have to be a price that starts out extremely high -- high enough to more than offset the losses resulting from decreased theater attendance and piracy -- then decays exponentially, asymptotically approaching what one currently pays for an iTunes rental.

      Of course, that's the reasonable way to do it. It makes great use of statistical mathematics and economics. It's also terribly practical, and would appeal to most consumers. Therefore, this is not what they will do.

    • “Demand is off the charts! Rates have increased to get more dime to the movie biz.”

    • I'm not, of course, talking about an iTunes rental price that remains constant.

      It would have to be a price that starts out extremely high -- high enough to more than offset the losses resulting from decreased theater attendance and piracy -- then decays exponentially [wikipedia.org], asymptotically approaching what one currently pays for an iTunes rental.

      Wait, wait, wait. I'm not into itunes and all this shit but what the fuck? You guys are renting digital content now? Worst of both worlds eh?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They definitely won't do that, unfortunately. Around here movies at the cinema cost the same if you see them on the first day or weeks later. It's probably hurting them, e.g. how many more people would have seen Suicide Squad on the big screen if the price had been reduced after the bad reviews were out? How much more would they have made if Ghostbusters was a little cheaper on the opening weekend, allowing people to realize that it wasn't as bad as the internet rage machine suspected it would be?

  • Cost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sit1963nz ( 934837 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @09:47PM (#53444001)
    I already severely limit the movies I go and see at the theatre because of cost. I can buy the DVD for half to 2/3 the cost of 2 adults going to see the same movie on the big screen. Nice thing about being willing to wait is that you don't get caught up in the hype and find you have spent good money on a crap film (e.g. Batman vs Superman). Too many movies are now about how many or how big the special effects are, plot, coherence, dialog all be damned. 3D is a fad, it does nothing to improve a crap movie and often ruins a good one. Equally the sound in theatres is often so loud you really wonder if permanent hearing damage has occurred. A DVD can be played multiple times, in any locations that has a DVD player. It can be paused, rewound, replayed, skipped forward all on demand. It can be loaned to friends and family, it can be on sold, it represents far more value than iTunes does. I have NEVER bought a digital download movie and have only ever bought 1 "CD" on iTunes , I prefer to buy physical media that I am in control of. Even better I buy 2nd hand media paying $2-5 for a DVD and less for a CD.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @10:33PM (#53444155)

    "One of the concerns about iTunes is whether it will be a secure platform for delivering movies that are still in theaters, the people said. While Apple encrypts iTunes video files so they can't easily be duplicated, it's possible to use a camera to record a movie playing on a TV screen."

    Yeah, that never happens in a movie theater...

    • Not even that, the way people generally circumvent content protection is not filming the screen, is using HDMI splitters that remove the HDCP in the process and use a common HDMI video grabber card to record, it is surprisingly easy and not that expensive.
      So they have reason to worry, but IMHO they should embrace it, stop spending huge amounts of money trying to create content protection schemes that simply don't work and make the life of people who actually spent money to consume more difficult, and acce
  • This is going to increase crowd density in the theaters that survive. Hundreds of theaters will close because there won't be enough new movies to come out to be theater draws, and thousands maybe tens of thousands of jobs will be lost.

  • by bl968 ( 190792 ) on Wednesday December 07, 2016 @11:35PM (#53444327) Journal

    Are why I stopped doing business with the company.

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Thursday December 08, 2016 @11:29AM (#53446275)

    If you make movies available for decent price on a wide selection of platforms, pirates will be those who are unlikely to be your customers anyway. Current attitude make pirates out of parents who can not justify $100 for babysitter, tickets, gas, parking and a small popcorn just to watch a two hour non-kid movie. Longer term, folks will just find something on Netflix/Amazon/HBO rather than taking legal and malware risk digging up torrents. And never go back to traditional studios that make them wait months to rent a movie everyone is talking about.

    I am not even considering gazillion games and upcoming VR entertainment that is competing for the same leisure time as movies.

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