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.