Part of Apple’s iCloud offerings is iTunes in the Cloud, which allows users to download past music, app and TV show purchases on any iOS or Mac device associated with their iTunes account. A new report says Apple is still working diligently on adding movies to the mix, too.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple is in talks with movie studios to finalize deals that would allow users to buy through iTunes once, and then access movies on any device, likely via a past purchases section of the store like the one that currently exists for apps, books, music and TV shows. We’ve heard about such negotiations in the past, but the new report suggests the talks are nearing completion, and will result in a cloud-based movie distribution system to go live either late in 2011 or early in 2012.
Apple currently accounts for two-thirds of digital movie sales and rentals through its iTunes Store, according to IHS, so it makes sense that movie studios would be interested in working out some kind of arrangement with Apple, especially with sales of physical media dwindling.
Nearly all major movie studios, with the exception of Disney, have signed on to a project called Ultraviolet, which provides digital, cloud-based copies of movies to customers who buy them in physical formats. Despite this apparent iTunes competitor, however, the L.A. Times reports that studio executives would be happy to see Apple join the efforts.
Apple has a strong bargaining position, and studios will have a tough time selling customers on Ultraviolet with iTunes already so entrenched, despite lots of studio support and many hardware partners. With iTunes in the Cloud already in place, and TV shows now on board, I expect it’s only a matter of time (and sales numbers that show Apple’s hardware platform is the right place for content producers to be) before movies come to the cloud, too.