updated 12:20 pm EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
Fox, Universal, WB tapped for initial deals
HBO is relaxing terms on streaming content to services like iCloud, according to a company spokesman. To attract viewers, the cable network regularly buys exclusive rights to movies; these windows usually start six months after a title's disc release, and persist for roughly a year. HBO's terms frequently prevent movies from being sold online or through video-on-demand services during a window.
Under the new arrangement, HBO says it will let movies be pushed to iCloud or other services so long as viewers already own the titles in question. While only Warner Brothers has secured a deal so far, HBO says it is also in negotiations with Fox and Universal. Sources for the Wall Street Journal say that Fox expects a deal within weeks, while Universal is close to one.
Apple recently brought streaming movies to iCloud/iTunes in the Cloud, but Fox and Universal titles were conspicuously omitted. Streaming is only an option for people who have already bought a video through the iTunes Store; the change is mainly significant to Apple TV owners, who have no choice but to stream movies from online services, local computers, or other iOS devices.