updated 03:15 am EDT, Thu May 1, 2008
iTunes movie deal coming
Days after celebrating iTunes' fifth anniversary, Apple on Thursday is expected to announce a breakthrough movie distribution deal that would allow it to sell new releases at the iTunes Store, offering a digital content delivery alternative to DVD sales. The new agreement will include major studios such as Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate and New Line as well as smaller boutiques such as Magnolia and Image Entertainment, but will leave out new titles from MGM, the report said. The Hollywood Reporter notes that the move would allow a broad slate of top-shelf films to be offered day-and-date with home video releases, potentially cannibalizing DVD sales, while simulataneousl putting "significant" pressure on iTunes competitors ranging from Amazon's Unbox to Microsoft XBox Live Marketplace.
In January Apple announced it had signed all of the studios to movie rentals, with each title costing between $3 and $4 for consumers to access for a 30-day period, while movie purchases could cost as much as $15.
Apple, however, failed to meet its self-imposed goal of 1000 iTunes movie rental titles by the end of February. Reports indicated that the Cupertino-based company nearly achieved its promise of 100 HD movie rentals, with only 91 hi-definition movie rentals and under 400 standard titles available for rent by the end of February.