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Summary:

The worlds of downloadable music and downloadable video are two very different beasts. While downloading a track for $.99 or an album for $9.99 to keep forever from iTunes makes sense, downloading a film for $9.99 or $12.99 makes less sense, as most consumers will watch […]

The worlds of downloadable music and downloadable video are two very different beasts. While downloading a track for $.99 or an album for $9.99 to keep forever from iTunes makes sense, downloading a film for $9.99 or $12.99 makes less sense, as most consumers will watch a movie only once, and listen to music again and again. This disparity has created a need for a video on demand rental service, one that Apple may soon enter this Fall, if a news story from the Financial Times, which appeared Sunday, pans out to be true.

According to the Financial Times, Apple is in the process of negotiating with multiple movie studios to debut a film rental service underneath the iTunes umbrella. The story states that Apple would offer video downloads for $2.99 for 30 days of use. After a consumer was done watching the video, they could delete it from their hard drive.

The addition of a video rental service becomes, for me, the missing piece that could catapult the Apple TV to real stardom. While the DRM-encoded films could be copied to a customer’s iPod or iPhone, the true video experience for watching film is on the wide screen. Bringing iTunes video rentals to your living room via the Apple TV is what the device was born to do.

By debuting a movie rental service, Apple could finally take on Netflix, Comcast, Amazon and the rest in a big way.

More of my previous comments on Apple and the dramatic effect the company could have on the video rental market can be found in the below links.

TAB: How Will Apple Compete With “On Demand”?
louisgray.com: How Apple Could Crush Netflix Now
louisgray.com: The Apple TV Debate is Upside Down
louisgray.com: What is the True Value of an Entertainment Download?

  1. Well, I sure hope I’ll still be able to BUY movies and TV series from iTunes as well (at AppleTV resolution, of course). I like to collect my favorites, and I’d rather not clutter up the shelves with any more “hard” media. I’m ready for downloads only.

    I’m not a big fan of rentals. I don’t like paying for something and not getting to keep it to watch whenever I like. I don’t feel the need to see “every” film that comes out. And usually if I do want to see it, then I want to keep it.

    I rarely use Pay-per-view or On-Demand from Comcast if they involve a fee. Free On-Demand I watch all the time.

  2. Hope Apple isn’t spreading itself too thin there. A smarter move would have been streaming movies. Do they want to compete against Netflix?

    Unless, they struck a deal with Hollywood in order to keep them from going ballistic again?

    Apple always manages to surprise us, let’s hope they actually have a clear plan for the future.

  3. I know it’s all the rage to use “to” in speculative pieces these days, but shouldn’t it be “may”? According to the article, Apple is in talks. As of the time of writing, nothing has been finalized. Or are you just that sure the video rental service will come to pass?

  4. Erik, of course you are right. I believe my first draft had a question mark at the end of the headline, and I lost that through editing. My fault.

  5. YouTube Comes to My Apple TV – The Apple Blog Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    [...] Steve’s keynotes on YouTube as well as through QuickTime? Just a thought. While we’re still waiting for rented movies to make their way to my Apple TV via iTunes, YouTube is a great addition. Anybody who has an Apple TV today should make the time to [...]

  6. $2.99 is a v.good price, there aren’t that many good movies to break my bank. But I hope they’ll have those small-time documentary movies such as who-killed-the-electric-car, US vs John Lenon, and other small productions.

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