Apple's working on serving up the latest movies to iTunes super early

Posted December 10, 2016

Some studios are now pushing for rentals on services as soon as two weeks after a film debuts at the cinema, though these would cost quite a bit more than a standard film rental. Having early access to movies from three of the biggest studios in Hollywood may help change its standing.

Apple wants to earn that distinction from other platforms that provide streaming access to movies. As of now this is how it works, Hollywood studios give out exclusive rights to the theaters for 90 days, this means that for 90 days from the theatrical debut the movie can not be screened anywhere else other than the theater itself. In recent years, there's been pressure by the studios to narrow this window down because movie theater attendance and home-movie rental revenue have remained stagnant.

One plan, according to the Bloomberg report, would be to set online rentals of new movies at prices in the $25 to $50 range. The studios that Apple has reportedly been talking to include Warner Bros., 21 Century Fox, and Universal Pictures. This experience will, thus, come at a much higher cost than the usual amount you're expected to spend at a movie screening. While the company encrypts iTunes video so duplicating the video files is a deterrent, a leak of the pictures that are still playing in theaters will seriously jeopardize gross sales for the studios and cinema owners. Naturally, theater chains are not going to be exactly thrilled with the news and could potentially attempt to either slow down or stop any developments into that direction.

Apple, for example, proposed the Hollywood giants a very interesting deal. The studios themselves are looking to dispense these home rental services at a premium (and they definitely will, to bring the latest content to your homes in nearly negligible time). Consumers want greater freedom in consuming their media and offering theatrical films in the home may deter piracy, although I'm not sure a $50 price point would convince many people now torrenting movies. Some studio execs are considering a deal with iTunes as a delivery option, the report said. The company has also discussed offering movies at home after 14 days in theaters, two of the people said.

Apple has struggled to make inroads in obtaining streaming rights for films and TV shows.