Apple is working to ensure that iTunes users no longer need to go to the movie theater to catch the latest releases, according a new Bloomberg report, which revealed that the company has been in negotiations with major Hollywood studios for rights to home-video rentals of new movies.
21st Century Fox, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. have all reportedly confirmed that they are amenable to the idea of releasing higher-priced rentals of movies that are still playing in theaters. Not only would the move bring in revenues from those who want to watch the latest releases without leaving the comfort of their homes, it would more importantly help Hollywood combat piracy, which is the option such people usually turn to.
While studios are currently engaged in internal discussions, Bloomberg states that some executives have been pressing for releases as early as two weeks after theatrical premieres. That option would come at a significant mark-up however, according to sources that say studios are considering prices between $25 and $50 for home rentals.
Whether iTunes will be Hollywood’s medium of choice is still up in the air, though such a deal could prove to be a major coup for Apple. iTunes has two assets that may make it an attractive distribution platform for studios: a large subscriber base and robust encryption protocols, that would make it difficult, though not impossible for users to rip video files.
Unsurprisingly, theater chains, which typically hold exclusive screening rights to new movies for 90 days, have been protesting the plan, which could severely undercut their already flagging revenues.