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iTunes Looks to Film

Published June 19, 2006 in Technology
By Ryan Parsons | Image property of respective holders.
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After iTunes came out and dominated the music-download market with hard to copy files, it was only a matter of time before the program moved on to higher bandwidth options. First came video podcasts that were both free and subscription based. Finding success with these larger file sizes, Apple moved on to even bigger formats by offering entire television episodes for download. Such shows to make the cut included ABC's popular series LOST. By going to the 'Music Store' a user could download an entire episode of LOST for as little as $1.99.

But it doesn't look like Apple/iTunes is stopping there. After playing around with film shorts, it looks like they are ready to upgrade to feature film.


iTunes Downloads Feature Films


According to Variety,
Apple is looking to get feature films among the list of media to download on iTunes.

The computer company is in active negotiations with most major studios to add movies to its iTunes Music Store, most likely by the end of the year, numerous sources confirm
.

As of right now the biggest concern is price. The first rejected offer by Steve Jobs was a flat rate of $9.99 for each film.

The studios responded with, "We can't be put in a position where we lose the ability to price our most popular content higher than less popular stuff."

Apple gives TV and music companies a 70% wholesale rate and is offering the same to film providers.



While the homevideo market is slumping -- leading many studios to focus on the Internet as the next growth market -- it still generated $23 billion in the U.S. last year, and studios don't want to risk angering major retailers like Wal-Mart or Best Buy by giving better terms to Apple.

When it comes to the download of feature films, however, iTunes isn't alone. New online retailers Movielink and CinemaNow are paying DVD wholesale prices for digital copies that their users can download both as a rental or a full-rate purchase.

There are signs Apple may bend, insiders say, and allow price points ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 in order to differentiate older titles from new releases.

Personally, I can only assume that a consumer would have to be off his rocker if he/she was willing to pay $19.99 for something that is both not a hard copy or packaged. Though the homevideo market has been 'slumping,' one major reason is the release of new high definition DVDs. Both Blu-ray and HD-DVD are preparing to go head to head and consumers are beginning to hold out to see what format comes out on top. To make matters worse, these same consumers have even slowed their purchases of ordinary DVDs since they will soon be outdated; I am one of them.

It is hard to imagine iTunes finding success with movie downloads if their prices close in on the actual retail amount.

Stay tuned for updates.

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Ryan Parsons
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