iTunes Movie RENTAL Service

itunes-logoThe following was sent to me by Goomack:

As posted before on The Movie Blog, Apple has been trying to get Walt Disney, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and Warner Bros. movie titles to sell on iTunes for a flat fee and the ability to own the movie once you buy it and another option was to pay a flat monthly fee for X amount of downloads. These studio are not too excited about selling their movies for less than the amount of the actual DVD from the store or keeping the movie on your computer after purchase.

Solution: It seems like Apple and these studios might have reached an agreement accord to this post @ Think Secret

The basic idea is that you can rent a movie on iTunes and have limitations on how many times you can view the file or a time limit that the file will work on your computer. Once the limits are met for the file it will be shut off on your computer and you will not be able to view it again.

Alright, now before I go off on how limited the vision of the movie studios is on this matter, let me first say this: The MIGHT be a good idea.

Look, I rent movies all the time, so I clearly have no problems with the idea of rentals. But here’s the crucial point. WHAT WILL THE PRICE BE?

Keep in mind that I pay $5 for a rental that I get to sit on my nice comfy couch and watch on my nice Plasma TV. So what are they going to want to charge me to have to download a movie, sit in my office chair (which isn’t uncomfortable… but it’s not my couch) and watch it on my computer monitor? The price will be the key.

If they want to charge me $5 or LESS, then this COULD WORK. For novelty sake I may download a couple, and if it’s an enjoyable and easy experience I may even do it once in a while. HOWEVER…

If they price this thing MORE than $5, then I’m not sure I’d ever even try it. You’ve got to convince me that this is a BETTER experience for me than watching the DVD on my Plasma TV while sitting on my comfy couch… and the only way to do that is with price point. We’ll see how this goes.

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17 thoughts on “iTunes Movie RENTAL Service

  1. In October, American iTunes released iTunes 7, which now has the option of buying movies off iTunes. There is NO rental ability and you can purchase the movies just like you would a song for unlimited usage. Movies, I think, are around $14.99 and include all the new releases. This would be great for me if A) I lived in America, not Australia and B) I didn’t know about BitTorrent or

  2. Well there is a problem… on my Ipod i watch TV shows.. and it sometimes for some strange reason counts a viewing of 5-10 minutes as a fully viewed show (increases playcount by one)
    This would not be a good way to tell.. in fact right now there is no good way unless it counts ever second watching..

    Now.. a option that is available.. a “NETFLIX” option.. (they don’t want to “sell the movies” but they can “rent” then)

    You pay say $20.00 for a multipass and select 4-5 movies to download.. they are time restricted to one month for unlimited viewing. And at the end you either check
    “return to itunes” (which deletes it from your computer and ipod)
    “purchase” (you keep it forever and the cost of the movie is deducted by the share of the rental)
    “keep in cart” which makes it count for the next months $20 multipass

    Everyone say Multipass like leeloo

  3. I completely agree with you, John; price will decide whether this is worthwhile. If they’re going to charge three or four quid (not sure what that is in US/Canadian dollars) to ‘rent’ each film, then I might be interested. They could even make some extra money by including older films (the type of thing you wouldn’t necessarily shell out on a DVD for) and charge a quid each for a one time watch. Who wouldn’t pay a pound/euro/dollar/whatever to watch ‘Gleaming The Cube’ or ‘Revenge Of The Nerds’ or somesuch? I would.

  4. With digital cable at satellite TV provider you can “rent” movies that recently came on DVD. If they can match these prices around $5 people will get interested. I watch TV shows and movies all the time on my computer and nowadays if your PC has a DVI output lets say nothing stops you to see that show on a very nice plasma screen. They keep the same rental price but same of the media to create, they’ll benefit in the end.

  5. John, I think you’re being too forgiving on this one. I would much rather do the same thing with Shaw on Demand and watch the same movie for $3.99 (the cost varies…this is pretty average) on my television – plus the fact that I don’t have to spend the time waiting for it to download.

    For me to buy into this entire scheme, I’d have to be getting a heck of a deal – $3 would be the max I’d pay for this. Otherwise, I’ll just keep using the services I already have. As much as I wan’t this idea to take off much like the MP3’s, I’m just not sure the studio’s are willing to take the leap of faith to prove to themselves that this works, if done right.

    This has disaster written all over it.

  6. The problem is that whatver encryption or protectiont hey use to lock out the file it will be cracked before the product is even released allowing you to view the movie indefinitely.

  7. Hey slybri

    You said:

    “This is the problem with digital distribution right now. No matter how much you charge, you have to compete with “free.” Until they find a way to stop all this piracy and file sharing completely, digital distribution will never really take off.”

    This isn’t true. Look at the wild success of iTunes and reasonably priced online music sales.

  8. The PC screen has gone beyond the office desktop these days. Lots of people have thier Pcs hooked to their HDTVs. Home Theatre PC’s are becoming more common. You get PVR functionality, High Def recording, everything. I can see someone with an HTPC using the heck out of a service like this, if the quality is as good as a DVD. Download movies straight to the big-screen, 5-6 bucks, watch’em and forget’em. Your ass never leaves the couch. That’s the future, right? And then there’s all the folks who watch movies on their laptops while laying in bed or on a plane trip. This service is good for them too.

    Of course the problem is you could just as easily download a pirated copy of the same movie for free and keep it forever. It’s too easy. Anyone with enough computer savvy to hook up an HTPC knows about bit torrent and how to get any movie they want for free. They even have DVD players now that can read and play DIVX or AVI files. PLay computer video files on your TV, no HTPC required. YOU can fit about 5-6 full length movies on one DVD in DIVX format, and the quality is pretty damn good. Sure it’s illegal. But so is jaywalking and pot smoking and driving without a seatbelt. Over half of the traffic of all the internet is bit torrent files. Seriously. It’s that popular.

    This is the problem with digital distribution right now. No matter how much you charge, you have to compete with “free.” Until they find a way to stop all this piracy and file sharing completely, digital distribution will never really take off.

  9. If this would be available for video iPod, I would pay up to ten dollars for a movie. Call me crazy. Not rent though. Thats insane.

  10. This is such a rediculous issue and will be irrevelent very soon.

    Everyone in the near future will have digital cable, no satelittes, digital HD television is the wave, and with Digital cable boxes you get PPV movies and OnDemand movies, to watch on your TV, not your computer monitor. These movies have viewing windows (usually 24 hours) and are priced the same as DVD rental, except you dont have to leave your house. My digital box is a PVR to boot, I will never watch TV the same way again.

    That is the future, this is all a stupid waste of time, UMD proved no one wants to watch movies on shitty little screens and no one wants to have to sit at their PC to watch a movie, so I have no idea what all this fuss is about.

    All this discussion is just posturing by the movie studios in an attempt to look current and an attempt to work with the new technology instead of against it, which is why the music industry has ZERO sympathy for illegal downloads. The movie industry has and is still trying to handle this all very differently than the music industry.

    Bottom line, neither the music nor the movie industry are able to keep up with technology, and they are both trying to make it seem as if they are victims, when the problem is they have no idea how to meet the demand of their consumers.


  11. The only thing about this that is not mentioned is again you can only watch this stuff on your computer. If you can’t view this file on your tv or on a portable device, ie: your iPod, then there’s no real point to this in my mind. Cinemanow has the right right idea allowing you to burn the movie onto a DVD and they might have the upper hand in this over iTunes. If Apple does not offer the option to burn or view these movies onto an iPod then this might not work for them. I guess well see what happens when and official announcement is made.

  12. I doubt it would be less than $5. Steve Jobs was in talk with movie studios a few weeks ago and it was reported that they refused to let him sell for $9.99, which he offered. They wanted $19.99 for each movie.

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