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Apple wants movies on iTunes after 2 weeks in theaters

08 Dec 2016 | Rasmus Larsen |

From 90 days - or more - to 14 days. That is what some of the biggest Hollywood studios are considering agreeing to and let Apple rent out the latest movies on iTunes much faster than today, according to Bloomberg. Movie theaters oppose the proposal.

A shorter cinema exclusivity window

Movie theaters typically have a 90-day exclusivity window for new blockbuster movies. This business model was created when film rolls had to be transported physically and movie discs reigned at home but new technologies, including streaming, offer new opportunities.

From a technical standpoint any movie studio could today release a film almost simultaneously everywhere across the planet but the established market structure prevents it from happening.

Apple wants to, at least partially, change that and reduce the cinema exclusivity window to just 14 days after which it will rent out new movies on iTunes via Apple TV. Apple has had conversations with 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros, and Universal Pictures, and certain people in senior positions are apparently willing to meet Apple’s demands, according to Bloomberg.

The bad news is that prices will go up. Studios are pushing for prices between $25 and $50 dollars per movie, according to one source. Today, most movies on iTunes debut at up to $20 dollars to purchase and $6 dollars to rent about 3 months after the debut in cinemas.

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Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of Warner Bros, believes that earlier availability could deter piracy. Other people fear that piracy will increase because people will find ways to bypass the encryption.

Cinema chains are obviously against as they seek to hold on to their exclusive screening period.

Another service called “The Screening Room” is planning to offer new movies on the same day as they debut in cinemas for a premium price. Several Hollywood directors have backed the project but not much has been said about the project publicly since spring of 2016.

- Source: Bloomberg



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