Apple Discussing Early iTunes Movie Rentals with Hollywood Studios

Posted Thu Dec 8, 2016 at 12:15 PM PST by

The company is reportedly working to offer new rentals sooner to customers.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is in talks with several Hollywood studios about the possibility of providing earlier rental access to new movies on iTunes. Potential studios interested in offering premium priced early rentals include 21st Century Fox Inc., Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures.

Traditionally, new releases have an exclusive theatrical window for 90 days or more before they are allowed to be made available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital platforms. But reports indicate that several studios are now investigating earlier rental options, with some open to offering home rentals as soon as two weeks after a film's theatrical premiere. Bloomberg's sources reveal that talks are currently in place with Apple about distributing these early rentals through the company's iTunes digital service.

With that said, there are several potential partners in the digital distribution realm that could be viable fits for early rental access, and it's possible that the studios may end up going with a different venue. Of paramount concern to studios, is whether or not iTunes can provide the anti-piracy encryption necessary to ensure secure rentals.  

Though specifics are still being determined, early rental prices could be as high as $25 to $50. Outside of Apple, Napster's Sean Parker has proposed a new video service, dubbed Screening Room, for early home access to current theatrical releases. Screening Room hopes to offer new releases at home on the same day that they premiere theatrically, and the platform uses watermarking technology to deter piracy by making it possible to track down the source of any potential leaks.

There's no word on when a deal with Apple or any other digital platform might be reached, and for now talks with interested studios remain ongoing.

Source: Bloomberg

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Tags: Apple, iTunes, Rentals, Warner Bros., Universal, 21st Century Fox, Streaming, Screening Room (all tags)