Posted December 27, 2007 1:26 pm by with 8 comments

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UPDATE: Less than a year after launching, Walmart shut down their video download service. The reason – poor performance. “Download sales equaled about 1 percent of the $24.5 billion in DVD and home video sales and rentals in 2006, but industry experts expect downloads to grow to 10 percent within a decade.”

Finally – movie rentals are coming to iTunes. Yesterday, Twentieth Century Fox signed a deal with Apple so you’ll be able to download DVD releases on iTunes. In the past you could buy movies from Disney, Paramont, and others. This is the first iTunes rental service.

While Apple isn’t the first to offer this service, they have better distribution. According to MarketingVox, most people don’t relish watching a movie from their PC or iPod. As of last year just 3% of Americans have downloaded full-length movies. NetFlix was going to offer this service in 2005, but couldn’t get the studios to agree to license their content.

Instead, Netflix is offering live movie streaming on their site – named the “Watch Now” feature. It’s an extra bonus for subscribers who get a certain number of hours to watch movies from their PC.

The downloads on iTunes will not be DRM-free and will work for a set time frame. Speculation puts the price at about $3 a download. Apple is talking with other studios to offer their movies.

Another development – Fox’s new DVD releases will include a digital file so you can watch the movie on your iPod or from your PC.

The deal and more details will most likely be announced at Macworld on January 14.

  • I don’t know, but aspects such as this one tend to bother me. I have noticed this with my own children as well: everything (now even movie rentals can be added to the list) is just a click away nowadays and that just doesn’t seem healthy. And under such circumstances, people still wonder why they are in awful shape.

    Alan Johnson

  • Janet,

    This may the start of the demise of the blockbuster business model. Even they had to purchase a company that offers online downloads of movies.

  • I firmly believe that the Gen Xers, the BabyBoomers and the Silver Surfers grew up with a big screen and won’t get accustomed to looking at their movies on screens with a small geography.

  • Zen

    Quite impressive how features advance. I wonder what the year 2008 will store for us (no pun intended).

  • I love watching movies on my iPhone or PC, actually I usually watch it on my large screen TV by connecting my iPhone to it. So guess I’m a part of the 3%. Nothing like an evening on the couch with a good movie, good food and good company.

  • Personally, at this point, I doubt we’ll see a lot of other companies following their example, as there simply isn’t enough demand for such a service but within the next ten years who knows, consumer behavior will most likely change so that why not, we might just see that 3% turning into 10 or even 15.

    Alan Johnson

  • I would much prefer to watch movies on a TV instead of on a computer. So once it becomes hassle free to do it that way, I will jump on board. I know there is hardware that already does it, but I want it to be better. I think Netflix is really starting to ramp up their download section.

  • I’m all for more options to watch streaming videos online but totally against DRM… when will they realize consumers do not want it?

    Watch Seven Pounds Online’s last blog post..Watch Seven Pounds Online Instead Of Going To A Theater!