Apple, Hollywood Discuss Possible iTunes Early Access Movie Streaming Service
Apple mulls the possibility of a day-and-date home movie service, talks with major movie studios about releasing rentals on iTunes two weeks after theater debut.
Remember the 'Screening Room' same-day home movie service? The controversial streaming service was unveiled with quite a bit of fanfare earlier this year, promising movie fans the ability to watch films currently in the cinema without ever leaving the comfort of their living room or home theater.
Soon it could have a deep-pocketed competitor, with Apple reportedly mulling a move into the day-and-date movie market. Apple is reportedly already in talks with major movie studios.
Not much has been heard of Screening Room since the huge debate erupted just before the annual CinemaCon in Las Vegas. The debate dragged in big names such as James Cameron and Steven Spielberg, both who are said to be on opposite sides of the argument.
According to anonymous sources speaking to Bloomberg, Apple has been talking to 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros and Universal Pictures about a day-and-date movie rental service that will be hosted on iTunes.
The report suggests that movies won’t launch at the same time on iTunes as they will in the theaters, however, with a short gap between cinema availability and digital rental, reportedly as soon as two weeks after release.
21st Century Entertainment is Evolving
Movie studios have been mulling a change in release dates for home entertainment for the last few years. But each attempt by the studios to shorten the time span between cinema release and general release has received huge backlash from the theater companies themselves.
In 2010, Disney made plans to release Alice In Wonderland on DVD just 12 weeks after appearing in theaters, down from the standard 17 weeks. In response, U.K. cinemas Odeon and Vue threatened to boycott the film unless Disney backed down, in the end an agreement was struck leading to Alice In Wonderland's release on DVD 13 weeks after its theatrical release.
Apple has been concentrating more on its music streaming business in the last year, with iTunes taking a back seat to Apple Music. The company is reportedly looking at ways to refresh iTunes, and one solution is to offer newer content that isn’t available anywhere else.
What benefit the movie studios would get by restricting themselves to Apple’s platform is up in the air, but the industry has already signaled its willingness to take the movie screening monopoly from the cinema chains.
U.S. exhibitors are already willing to move forward with the times. AMC was linked with Sean Parker’s Screening Room, while Cinemark believes that a premium service could satisfy all parties.
There is one caveat. The security of Apple’s platform may not endear it to the film studios. Currently, someone could use screen recording technology or a camera pointed at a screen to pirate a film from iTunes, while Screening Room features watermarking. (Lean more about Screening Room.)
If security is a real concern, XCINEX may have the solution. The company’s advanced camera technology and watermarking technology are supposedly some of the most robust currently available.
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