Discussions about early movie rentals are ongoing among several Hollywood studios. However, they’ve recently become more flexible about pricing and timing, now considering to offer movies at home just weeks after their premiere for as low as $30. Their latest proposal comes amid Apple’s push to offer movies for rent as well through its media store, iTunes.
According to Variety, negotiations started a while ago with Warner Bros. proposing to offer earlier movie rentals for $50, 17 days after they officially open in cinemas. Traditionally, new releases have an exclusive theatrical window of 90 days or more before they are rolled out on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital platforms.
However, some of the studios such as 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures consider Warner’s suggestion as too expensive for their liking. Fox and Warner are now reportedly pitching a cheaper price for a longer release window that could see $30 rentals pop up between 30 to 45 days after their big screen premiere. Universal is looking for a narrower window of around 20 days while Sony is believed to be toying with the idea of later releases that might also be more expensive.
Lionsgate and Paramount Picture are all said to be in talks with various exhibitors as well, alongside AMC, Regal, and Cineplex. While the deal is far from being finalized, whatever comes out of the talks will likely affect Apple as it also pursues early streaming via the iTunes Store.
iTunes Streaming Service
Apple Insider noted previously that some of the studios have been considering to strike a deal with the tech giant for its home video rentals. Sources familiar with the matter claimed that the iPhone maker has been pressing the studios for an earlier access to new movies in an effort to bolster its iTunes business.
Getting new movies sooner than competitors like Google Play or Vudu could help its media store stand out in a crowded online market for entertainment content like movies and music. While iTunes helped the company carve a dominant role in music retailing, Apple hasn’t done much to build the same role in video streaming.
Should Apple win a deal with the studios, it would make its service more appealing, especially with the shorter rental windows and $30 price. But that would only become a competitive edge if its rivals fail to offer the same perks.
At this point, iTunes‘ price for renting a movie range from $0.99 to $6.99, depending on its quality and recentness. Once a rental is downloaded, the viewer has thirty days to start watching the movie and 24 hours to finish it before it expires.