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Why Apple Can't Get Movie Content

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the bargaining-tables dept.

132

An anonymous reader writes "This article analyzes Apple's negotiations with record companies and movie studios. It explains why Apple's preferences are aligned with those of consumers. Using a software model, it concludes that the iTunes Movie Store currently doesn't have the software/hardware lock-in that forced the music industry to agree to Apple's terms for the Music Store."

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They can't get movie content (-1, Offtopic)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701483)

because the movie man don't like Apple!

Re:They can't get movie content (1)

Celt (125318) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701505)

This is true but Apple have Disney and all the associated studios that Disney owns and operates, its a start and people will still buy stuff from them

Re:They can't get movie content (0, Offtopic)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701561)

The Disney man, he like Apple.

Re:They can't get movie content (1)

elmarkitse (816597) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702077)

ahh...but what about the marlboro man? Whats his position?

Re:They can't get movie content (1)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702121)

ahh...but what about the marlboro man? Whats his position?
Last I checked... about 6 feet under.

Re:They can't get movie content (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16701735)

Please stop talking about Apple and movies - it's so offtopic... Well done once again, slashdork mods.

Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

superid (46543) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701493)

I'm an iTunes user with a video iPod. I'm comfortable with their pricing ($10 or $15 per movie) and I've had no problem buying, downloading or viewing a couple of movies. The speed is good, and the video quality is fine, and DRM has not (yet) gotten in my way.

The problem is that I have already run out of movies that I want to buy from iTunes. They need a library of 100X more in order to get a critical mass of users. If that doesn't happen, and soon, I will find another way to get viewable content onto my iPod in an equally easy/convenient way.

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

Zarniwoop_Editor (791568) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701711)

And Unfortunatly.. If you use the Canadian Itunes store your choices are even fewer.
No TV shows, No movies, just a selection of music videos...

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703179)

And a 75% tax rate!

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703399)

similarly for the UK store. As far as i know - only the US store has the tv shows or movies. Its a bit silly to block off a substantial part of the market like this but its probably a result of the terms and conditions the media companies defined. Think dvd regions - etc.

the double standard in business (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16703921)

yes, it is too bad that for most purposes you are stuck with your own nation's laws, but the transnationals can operate all over and engage in anti competetive/cartel price fixing schemes and you can't do much about it as an individual. For example xyz software or entertainment media is available in another nation for cheaper, but you can't get it legally in your nation, nor can you sue for access (not easily anyway). You are stuck in the dodgy gray market then, when all you want is normal freedom to shop anywhere the internet reaches. Regional coding in particular is a blatant example of transnational cartel price fixing, yet it is tolerated by the law. Inside the US, all the major music media outlets have at one time or another been convicted (usually multiple times) of payola, yet they are all still in business, none of them have been broken up and had their incorporation charters revoked, which should be the remedy dealing with the vague "corporation is a person" deal they enjoy by the laws, but it is not. They get little fines which said costs get passed on to the next batch of suckers..I mean "consumers". Look at sony rootkit, by the law it was no different from any script kiddy doing a rootkit install to build a zombie network (hidden tracking software that phoned home, installed without the users knowledge or consent), and those folks when caught go to jail. Sony should have been broken up (that division) and whomever signed off on that inclusion of the rootkit (no matter how many pointy headed "bosses" that was, all of them up the food chain) should have gone to jail, but instad, a little toy fine. Blatant example of the laws and "justice" departments being paid off stooges for the elite globalist corporate fascists.

The fix is in. Want to be a crook legally, be the biggest business you can be, especially shoot for being a transnational corporation hidden behind many layers of paper corporations and be most generous with campaign contributions and consultation fees or 'speaking' fees, the later being the most obvious way of paying important political figures off "legally".

The only remedy you have left legally is to shun and boycott, which I do, I purchase zero new media, download or on disk, from any of the price fixing majors, for any reason because of that.

FWIW, for anyone in the US, vote all the bums out this US election. Do not put a checkbox against any incumbent, we need top to bottom serious political change, vote third party, independent or write-in, or at a minimum, against the incumbent. Then make sure you follow up and see if your vote was really tallied in the final election results especially as regards third parties and independents running, I have and have noted the asssholes must have thrown out my ballot, and I was excrutiatingly careful to make sure it was filled correctly. The simplest test to perform is write your own name in (don't use something stupid like donald duck,. that WILL get your entire ballot tossed) for some position that has a pol running unopposed, see if your "vote" shows up in the final detailed tallies.

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16701889)

... I will find another way to get viewable content onto my iPod in an equally easy/convenient way.

By that he means "I'll just go download it from VideoSeed"

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16702025)

OMG, a calm and rational post on a contentious topic.

E

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702523)

It's called buy the damn DVD and rip it onto the iPod. It includes the added bonus of being DRM free and viewable anywhere

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702623)

You're lucky. The UK has a far worse choice of even music videos and extra content (Inserts etc), and no TV or movie options. At all.

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

Dexter1715 (1022179) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702745)

Personally, I think the movie situation with iTunes is significantly lacking compared to its TV offering. Selection is obvious, but that's simply because the film studios don't want to loose out to Apple twice.

But my problem is more the pricing model, I don't see the value in it considering its inferior resolution, the selection, time to download, and so forth. I am far less likely to spend $10-$15 on a movie I am not sure about vs. the $2 I frequently shell out for a TV show or short I haven't seen before. More so, if I can't make a DVD out of it to get it off of my drive. I'm a little surprised that Apple isn't offering them for $4.99 - $9.99 instead. I just don't see the value and there isn't a lot of incentive to experiment with movies I've never heard of for $10 bucks a shot and a long download time.

I think Steve and crew will sort it out in the long run, but it appears that he lost a small battle in order to appease film companies - only time will tell I guess.

Dex

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702773)

Yes, and I think apple's sales numbers will improve when people get larger hard drives. At that point, they might see an increase in sales that may allow them to negotiate with other studios. Most desktops have large disks, but laptops from Apple are still rather small. Pirates of the Caribbean is roughly 1.53GB. Consider iBooks used to ship with 30-40GB of space. You can only put 26 movies on the drive and that presumes you don't care about having an OS, music or software on there. I have about 22GB of content in iTunes with 15GB purchased from the iTunes store. My drive is always around 2GB and I can't afford to buy another movie on that system. I could buy one on my desktop, but if I wanted to watch movies on my desktop I can simply buy DVDs. My iBook was an academic model G4 which did not come with a combo drive and I don't think most people like lugging around DVDs with their laptops that do have DVD drives. Sure you can always dump DVDs to disk in quicktime or divx or whatever.

I've purchased quite a few TV shows on iTunes and I'd love them to add more content. I particularly like the universal studios content as their DVDs are always defective. For any season of any show I've purchased, at least 2 episodes won't play all the way through without skipping or losing audio/video. And no, its not the 3 DVD players + 6 DVD drives on PCs/Macs in my home. Worst part is that the knight rider 2000 movie skips right at the "scotty at the ATM" sequence which is the only good thing in that whole movie! (it was included with season 1 of knight rider) You can argue take it back, but it doesn't help. Its happened with 3 seasons of knight rider and my forth is on its way. If I didn't love knight rider so much, I'd say F it. At least with iTunes I could rebuy the damn episodes from the first two seasons that didn't play right. On a side note, Paramount DVDs work great. Star Trek (seasons 1-3), TNG season 6 and seasons 1-6 of Macgyver play perfectly. On topic, I love buying Monk and other shows on iTunes and hope they get the movie content. Eventually I will buy a new laptop with some space beyond the 60GB drive I already put in it. (52 screws precludes me from upgrading it again)

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703511)

Is it enjoyable to watch movies on the iTune? I don't have one, but I've seen videos on a friends iPod and the screen is alright for a music video, but for a 1.5 - 2 hour movie does it hold up? I think if they went with a bigger screen I would do it. I would probably do it for TV shows as well.

Re:Yes, Choice is Lacking (1)

ukdmbfan (904348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703951)

I will find another way to get viewable content onto my iPod in an equally easy/convenient way.

www.torrents.to + Videora iPod Converter

this is something we didn't know? (3, Interesting)

thelost (808451) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701501)

Apple took a brave stance when they opened the movie store for business, and if good intentions == $$ they would be doin' just fine; However I haven't seen a scrap of news about the movie store since it's been launched. That's either good news or bad news.

So what would slashdotian's prefer to see? Apple make compromises and let in the companies that are twisting it's arm, or Apple to stand it's ground and watch the movie store sink?

Re:this is something we didn't know? (1)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701789)

Good intentions? You do know the intention is to make money right? They are trying to get in on the video download market before they get boxed out. If they fail, there will be no reason for people to come to them for movies, which removes not only the movie store, but hurts the video ipod significantly.

Re:this is something we didn't know? (2, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701973)

No the good intentions here is to force the movie industry to understand that a download IS NOT a DVD, and thus you cant charge 17.99 like the industry wants Apple to. Thats the reason for a lack of movies in the first place, they tried to bring everyone on board, but only Disney (who Mr Jobs owns the biggest share of the company) would go in on the deal.

I dont think it hurts the video iPod though, They are the number one payed site to download TV shows still. Most of the other groups havent even touched that market

That being said Apple could easily JUST sell Dinsey movies and people would buy in droves. Never underestimate the power of the mouse.

Re:this is something we didn't know? (1)

dragonsomnolent (978815) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702159)

"Never underestimate the power of the mouse."

Whether you intended it or not, that is the best play on words I've ever seen. Hat's off to you! (if I could mod you, I would)

Re:this is something we didn't know? (1)

y00st (946348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703249)

So what would slashdotian's prefer to see? Apple make compromises and let in the companies that are twisting it's arm, or Apple to stand it's ground and watch the movie store sink?

Since the introduction of the 5G iPod there hasn't been any video for sale in the iTunes store for just about anyone outside the US. I'd therefore rather have Apple focus on improving the hardware than making life hard for users that want to put their own content onto an iPod (and this includes content created with different tools than just iTunes).

I learned to take care of creating my own video content for the iPod 5G and digitized just about my entire DVD collection onto it and I am currently beyond the point where I will accept getting DRM'd files for a 10 Euro penalty if I can get a DVD for the same amount of money, rip it and put it on my device to watch the content when and where I like to consume it.

So, what I would like to see Apple improve in iPod's with Video beyond the 5th generation models:

Greatly improved battery life time (an perhaps -finally- battery swapability),
A BIGGER screen (i don't care about touch screens - as long as the screen won't scratch that easily),
A better videochip than the current Broadcom chip that can only play Baseline Low Complexity at 640x480 by means of a hack, and which has also been tuned to only accept 640x480 files that have been exclusively transcoded with iTunes.

./j

"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16701545)

Yeah, I'll remember that next time they increase the video resolution and force me to buy the video again if I want that new resolution. It's what I, as a consumer, must have wanted.

Re:"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers (3, Funny)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701653)

... I'll remember that next time they increase the video resolution and force me to buy the video again if I want that new resolution...
I understand what you mean. I remember the joyous free upgrades from 8-tracks to cassettes and finally with CDs when the music industry changed formats. And oh remember all of those free upgrades from Betamax to VHS to DVD. I can't wait for my free Blueray upgrades.

Oh those bastards at Apple.

Apples and Oranges... (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701715)

Distributing physical media is expensive and an exchange program makes it even more expensive.

Apple knows exactly what you bought and allowing you to download it again would cost them a few cents per download. (which they could easily charge for and make a buck; "upgrade for just $1.99!")

Not having *anything* in place for upgrades or replacements of lost downloads is a farce in the internet age; you already own a license, why should you pay for that part again?

Re:Apples and Oranges... (1)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701873)

I disagree on the issue of physical media versus a file, and the costs associated with them. I believe many people underestimate the cost of bandwidth, servers, etc. in distributing electronic files. Particularly, in a situation where people are downloading large movie files. Look at the estimates for YouTube bandwidth costs. [forbes.com] . Add to that servers, admins, etc. For a large movie store, the costs rapidly exceed 10s of millions per year. While there are benefits to working in virtual space, distribution costs are not ZERO, or even close to it.

Re:Apples and Oranges... (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702255)

People generally smarter than Forbes when it comes to technology seem to think YouTube pays a lot less in bandwidth [pbs.org] ; indeed, just look at how much it costs to store on and stream from Amazon's S3 service [amazon.com] . Surely, the cost for Apple can't be orders of magnitude higher than that? On top of that, "upgrades" and (also paid!) re-downloads should be a fraction of new purchases in volume anyway.

Besides, I never said the cost was zero; just that you should have to pay for the cost of getting the upgrade and not for the license, which is much, much greater than the infrastructure and bandwidth cost.

Isn't that the record labels fault? (1)

The GooMan (892098) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702943)

I have always heard the record labels make Apple pay "royalties" per download not per song. That is the reason they (Apple) don't allow you to have a "library" on their servers and just download anything you have purchased as many times as you want.

Blame the labels not Apple if this is true and I would not doubt it for a second.

Re:Isn't that the record labels fault? (1)

daBass (56811) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703207)

I think we'll never know. I am pretty sure the labels like it this way, but we'll never know if Apple minds, or even how hard they bargained with the labels to allow re-downloads/upgrades...

I am not trying to blame anyone in this as I don't have the facts, I am just blaming the system. :P

Re:"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers (1)

CasperIV (1013029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701731)

Your talking about physical media versus a file that is downloaded. It costs them nothing but bandwidth for you to download another file. It's not really possible to draw an accurate comparison because of how new the idea of downloading movies (legally) is. If you purchase the rights to download a movie from Apple, it should be known that you are actually paying for a single file. Of course I'm not saying that I agree with this notion, but that is how they see it. Personally I prefer the idea that if I "buy" a title, I have purchased the right to download that title as many times as I want and in whatever formats strike me at the time...... but that's what I think it should be, not the way that makes the most money.

Re:"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers (1)

MunchMunch (670504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701761)

I don't think you were responding to the grandparent post. Grandparent was complaining about business practices, using figuratively the word 'force.' You responded sardonically based on a literal interpretation of 'force' which shifted the argument from one concerned with good business practices to one concerned with rights.

You are not having an argument here, but rather a misunderstanding.

Re:"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701875)

I think it's at least a mild misuse of the word 'force' anyway. I think it's only fair for me to say that in a crowd where some people complain about the misuse of 'piracy'.

Re:"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers (1)

ben there... (946946) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704491)

You're talking about the addition of new media types. GP was talking about replacing existing poor quality files with existing better quality files. The old versions no longer exist in their catalog. The files play on the exact same player and are the exact same media type. They cost the exact same amount.

To help you understand the problem, Amazon lets you download the same file as many times as you want. If they upgraded (remove old file, replace with better file) their catalog with better versions of the files, you'd be able to just redownload it again.

This shares little similarity with the upgrades from 8-tracks through to CD.

Re:"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16701665)

Yeah, as you watch gay porn they are doing you a favour.

Re:"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16702005)

yeah, let me just take my car back to Toyota - damn, they didn't put the Supra engine in it and i DESERVE the extra power.

Re:"Apple's preferences are aligned with consumers (1)

Quevar (882612) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702847)

"Yeah, I'll remember that next time they [add a new feature] and force me to buy the [software] again if I want that new [feature]."

What's with having to buy a new version of software that comes out. I already have a license to the software, so why can't I just upgrade the new version for free.

Deal with it. Was it worth it when you bought it? You bought it, so it must have been. Just because a new version came out does not mean you should get a free upgrade.

What about TV Shows (1)

z80jim (923871) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701605)

I don't have any data but it seems the TV Shows on iTunes would have been starting from the same situation the movies were, maybe even worse because everybody already has free or unlimited access to the shows. The TV Show selection started out limited but has rapidly grown. There is a ton of stuff now. I don't know how many they are selling but I have to think it is doing well. So I'm not sure their analysis holds up.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701737)

I'd say that the difference would be that network TV is looking for new ways to distribute their content as they see ad revenues decline.

But the moive studios are trying to keep as firm a grip as possible on the current distribution model as long as possible.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

z80jim (923871) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701771)

Good point. Essentially, prior to iTunes, TV did not have a "buy the show" model. iTunes brought a new sales vehicle. Movies, with DVD purchases, do and iTunes would be a threat to replace that.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701957)

In "buy the show", do you mean buy an episode, a la carté?

I really don't think iTunes is really a threat to the DVD buying model. The DVD format is a threat in itself and to itself. I think DVD has been fading since Spring of 2005 when Shrek DVD sales slumped quicker than anyone expected. And that was the best selling DVD ever. It may have meant that analysts and the industry was overeager, thinking DVD would continue to grow, but there's a point where there is market saturation and so many other options. I still buy DVDs but with PVRs and Netflix, there's almost no reason to even buy the heavily discounted stuff that's now $6 from $20 when they were first released. I think the reason I just stated should be considered as a reason why the buy-the-movie services may not work so well.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703131)

I think the reason I just stated should be considered as a reason why the buy-the-movie services may not work so well.

It works very well, provided you're the type of movie fan who likes bonus discs full of extra commentaries, behind-the-scenes documentaries, and how-they-made-it effects shows that go with your favorite films.

When DVDs were first introduced, practically everybody made those bonus discs and content to go with their films (whether it was justified or not). Nowadays it's a rarity, and you're lucky to even get a piece of paper inside the DVD case with a track listing.

Often, of course, this approach is taken for films that don't sell very well. But more and more I see blockbuster movies coming out in a cheaper single-disc version (which is often the only one video stores carry, incidentally) and a $5-more-expensive bonus-disc version for the fans that want extra content. Bonus content is no longer a free bonus.

When buying a DVD isn't much better than buying a videotape or watching it on TV with commercials, then I agree, it doesn't work so well. But if you like that bonus can't-see-anywhere-else content, DVDs have a distinct advantage. The problem is that that content isn't as cheap as it used to be, so even fans (like me) aren't buying it as often as they used to.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701781)

TV on iTS isn't really competing with broadcast TV. It's a service for people who miss TV shows or want to watch shows on portable devices.

It competes against buying the DVD box set of a whole series. Selling a single song isn't practical on CD. Buying single episodes of a TV show isn't practical for DVDs. Apple will always have that disadvantage trying to sell movies online. They can't even include the extras usually included on a DVD. Movies are much more sensitive to quality than TV shows. That's why people go to the cinema.

TV shows have been much more successful than movies (on iTS) but that's because it will take time. At the moment movies are just an extra feature for people who happen to own a new hard drive iPod.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702157)

So you're basically saying that iTunes is a legal alternative to torrent sites ? Blah. We watch various TV series here every week, but I'm horrible with TV schedules so I'm usually knee-deep in a WoW instance when Heroes or Lost comes on, so the lady will watch it, then once the show is over I just load up a popular torrent tracker and look for that same episode that just played. It's hardly any different from taping shows on VHS or TiVo. One advantage is that I usually go for the HDTV 5.1 version and watch it on my PC in amazing high-rez. One disadvantage is that I have to rely on the dedicated TV cappers.. I don't know why they bother with all the hassle of getting HDTV capture equipment, then skillfully encoding the video and audio and putting it on the net for free, but I'm sure glad they do!

Another pitfall of torrents is that, much like home taping, you only have a brief time window to get the content. For taping, well you have to record it live, sometimes you might have a west-coast rebroadcast 3 hours later but that's it. With torrents, you have anywhere from a couple days to a few weeks before the seeders abandon the file. iTunes has the advantage that they can keep hosting older episodes indefinitely (as long as their contract permits), but how hard is it to download a show within a week or two ? Heck with some clients you can fully automate the process with an RSS feed, how easier could it possibly be ?

Movies on the other hand, well, I'm divided on the issue. On one hand, yes electronic access to everything everywhere is a great concept if we can pull it off. There's few things I hate more than having to physically go somewhere for petty things. I probably waste 15-20% of my waking hours to travel; e.g. work, food, government services etc. Renting movies at the local video club can be a bit of a pain too, because the selection is limited and you can't "Google" for the stuff you want, you have to stroll across the entire store and hope your eyes don't fail you. Then what if the movie you want is out ? You just wasted your time and end up choosing some crappy substitute. And then the store itself uses up space on the main street that could be better used for housing, not to mention the electricity and various losses due to theft and fraud, which is inevitable, especially in a business run by teenagers. The whole system is inefficient.

But then on the converse, sometimes you're just bored and don't know what to rent. Then the physical location means you will run into other people at the store, even the clerk can help you make a selection. You'll also have the opportunity to browse related movies, maybe catch a screener on the demo displays that will pique your interest. Or worst case you won't find a movie, but end up at the live music club next door where a fresh young indie band is playing.

Different people, different needs.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

aonaran (15651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702793)

One disadvantage is that I have to rely on the dedicated TV cappers.. I don't know why they bother with all the hassle of getting HDTV capture equipment, then skillfully encoding the video and audio and putting it on the net for free, but I'm sure glad they do!

Because they know that if the online "tape trading" community was all leeches like you they wouldn't be able to get the shows that they missed. There has to be some give as well as take.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701883)

Yeah, I don't get the analysis either. TV Shows are more competitive than movies as you mention. If people missed a show, that's what TiVo or reruns are for. Some new episodes are rerun the same week and on other networks.

Re:What about TV Shows (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703209)

everybody already has free or unlimited access to the shows

Or not. By choice I have neither cable nor television and yet there are some shows I would like to see. Previously I just did without. iTunes gives me a good legal option to see tv shows without having to go out and buy the DVD's. As far as I can tell the price is about the same as DVD sets and I'd have to agree that the quality isn't quite as good, but it saves space on my DVD shelf and gives me a convenient way to keep up with ongoing shows.

FYI (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701635)

It's all just been called the "iTunes Store" since this last September." [wikipedia.org]

If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701727)

If "Apple's preferences" were really "aligned with those of consumers", there'd be be no DRM hassle, and buyers of the content could easily burn it to DVD/etc to watch on their TVs. Do YOU like DRM? What consumer does????

Re:If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16701791)

Their preferences are aligned... but due to limitations of negotiations with the studios & labels, the implementation isn't as closely aligned & there is some hassle with DRM. Although, the music rights are better than most of the other legitimate online stores out there, the video rights are more limited as far as burning. However, I think part of the reasoning for that is video content is consumed very differently than audio content. As such, the flexibility to format transcode audio is more important. People are more likely to have multiple audio playback devices that take CDs away from their computer, for example in their car, than they are to have multiple DVD players outside their home. Also with the "iTV" in the product pipeline, the need for transcoding to DVD is minimized.

Re:If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1)

MicrosoftRepresentit (1002310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701795)

Yeah! And if they where *really* aligned, they'd give all their software and hardware away for free!

Kind of a bad comparison (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701827)

Consumers expect to pay a reasonable price for software and hardware (and who doesn't agree, for example, than an iPod is a marvel for a reasonable price?). However, consumers also expect to be able to play the music/movies they bought on their own hardware without hassle. Wanting no DRM is not the same as wanting free hardware.

Re:If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702307)

Giving software and hardware away for free may be aligned with consumers, however it is not being aligned with customers. The difference being that consumers are masses of people who buy crap because they have no choice, and customers are people who have choices and you sell goods to.

Itunes - for rich people too scared to go to shops (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701821)

Is itunes really only for all those rich people that are too scared to go to
the scary hood and rent $2 dvds in crime prone districts?

Or for anti social people , or people who work too much to find the time to go
to a store to rent a dvd for $2.

In all respects, itunes is inferior to all other offerings, what do you live
50miles from a rental shop? wow huge customer base there.

DRM rentals, $1-$2 each is the MAGIC spot and will be norm in 2010.

Re:Itunes - for rich people too scared to go to sh (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701967)

$2, I wish!

Even when it only takes 10 minutes to go to the video store there's still the problem that you might not like anything (or the video you wanted isn't available). Then you either rent something else or get the next best thing. That's not so much fun. Neither is spending 30 minutes in the video store trying to pick something.

Videos are supposed to be relaxing. People have a low threshold for hassle on something that's supposed to be hassle free.

Picking up the videos is not and never has been the worst part. What's really annoying is having to bring the tape back. Video stores make most of their money from late returns. At $6 a movie you'd have paid for it if it's a day or two late. Invariably, I'm busy the day after I rent something.

I'm not the only one. DVD sales are huge.

Re:Itunes - for rich people too scared to go to sh (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703219)

$2, I wish!

That's cause you are not going far enough into a ghetto. (Obviously you didn't read GPP careful enough!) You need to find a place where there are a lot of drive by shootings. That way you can save $$$ on videos. Plus, you pick up some crack while you are there and maybe even a ho (or is that "hoe"?)

Re:Itunes - for rich people too scared to go to sh (1)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703757)

American movie companies are selling the same movies we pay $15 and up for in China for $1.99 because piracy is so extensive. So what does that tell us? That companies don't look at the cost of goods when setting a price, they look at what the market is willing to pay. Not that it isn't smart of the movie industry, but there is certainly a semi-collusion going on to set the price fairly evenly across the board. You don't have one company selling DVDs for $4.99 while everyone else is charging over $15. So if Universal is able to sell in China for that low, they could sell for just as cheaply here. It is because most people don't really want to steal that movie companies are still charging so much. I am not going to pull an Abby Hoffman and say steal this movie (or book) but I have trouble feeling that what is being charged for the same DVD with the same special features here and in China could be considered fair.

And I'm sorry, but charging $15 for a reduced resolution movie to be downloaded with reduced rights is just plain dumb. Your average Joe who gets burned by his more than a couple times will realize at the very least that they can rip a DVD they BUY for $15 and have it both in full quality for their DVD player and for their mobile video device. Then movie companies will try to Macrovision or alternate DRM DVDs and consumers will do an D-A-D conversion to get around it.

Music artists like Beck are figuring out that by adding significant value to the typical offering is the way to get people to buy your stuff and give the artist mind share which converts to live ticket sales which is where the artist makes much of its money anyway (read - Price who will regularly play in Vegas for $125 a ticket and runs his own record label).

Movie companies are stuck in spending money trying to defeat technology instead of adding sufficient value that makes it worth it us giving them our money. Asshats.

Re:Itunes - for rich people too scared to go to sh (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702431)

Is itunes really only for all those rich people that are too scared to go to the scary hood and rent $2 dvds in crime prone districts?

Or for anti social people , or people who work too much to find the time to go to a store to rent a dvd for $2.

Netflix - the answer for social recluses! If you can get past that whole fear-of-the-mailman part, that is.

Re:Itunes - for rich people too scared to go to sh (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702845)

For music itunes is for mostly people who only want to buy one or two songs and not the album. As others have pointed out, this model translates reasonably well for TV shows where itunes allows you to buy one episode and not the entire season. For movies, however, itunes offers no such advantage, since the competing product (a DVD) is already cut to as small a product as someone would buy. So, I agree with you. Why would someone buy such an inferior product just for a small amount of convenience? The one way to sell someone a smaller product is by limited the time, instead of the content - in other words a rental. This is why I sort of agree with...

DRM rentals, $1-$2 each is the MAGIC spot and will be norm in 2010.

I do think we are heading this way. However, I don't think it'll be that cheap, at least not for new releases. (Where can you rent DVD's for $2, anyway)? The real question is, who is going to provide you with the rental? Apple, Microsoft, Sony, the cable company, or your phone company? My money is on the cable companies since they are already beginning the process with pay-per-view. This is also why the telecos want a teired internet. With a teired internet, they can lock out the competition, or at least be assured they can make a hefty profit no matter who wins, (with the exception of the cable companies who can use their own lines).

Re:If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1)

Rytr23 (704409) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702111)

Sure.. and they could only sell their own original programming you dolt. Its not apple pushing DRM, it's the content creators.

Re:If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703329)

I suspect Apple favors DRM. It doesn't help them to distribute DRM-free media that everyone will redistribute to their friends. The lose money that way. Apple stands better with DRM content that makes it necessary for each person to purchase their own copy, though I grant there are simple enough ways around the DRM with their music. The first thing I always do with iTunes music is burn it to DVD then rip it back to my computer in WMA format since I don't particularly care for iTunes as a media player but I like WMP.

Re:If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702127)

In light of the continued success of iTunes and the iPod, I would say that most consumers don't have a problem with the DRM that Apple uses.

If what you said was true... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702241)

...there would be no iTunes Store at all.

As it stands, Apple's DRM itself and the actual functional DRM restrictions are (by far) the least obtrusive to customers among all online stores legally selling mainstream copyrighted content in the US marketplace (and others).

Also, you can watch the video content on your TV, via:

- Hooking any video iPod directly up to a TV with the A/V cable (composite video + analog audio)
- Hooking any video iPod directly up to a TV via the iPod dock (S-video or composite video + analog audio)
- Playing the video from any computer hooked up to a TV (S-video, composite, RGB/VGA, or DVI video + analog or optical digital audio)
- Playing the video via the forthcoming iTV product (S-video, composite, RGB/VGA, or DVI video + analog or optical digital audio)

Further, there is much more to the DVD restrictions. To burn a video DVD that would even have the remotest chance of being accepted by content owners - who DO have the final say here:

- CSS would have to be applied to the DVD. This would make it the essential equivalent of a commercially purchased DVD. But content owners may be concerned that consumers would quickly find they could burn multiple DVDs. Even though CSS-protected commercial DVDs can be copied as-is now (without decrypting), most consumers don't know this can be done, and right or wrong, content owners don't really want people to know they can just copy DVDs and give them to their friends for free. (And no, it wouldn't be as easy to have number-of-times restrictions for burning DVDs like you can with iTunes playlists, but I suppose something like that could be explored.)

- Licensing CSS for use in a consumer-targeted (i.e., non "profressional"/"industrial") product (to *apply* CSS, not just decrypt it) may be impossible from a cost and/or contractual standpoint.

- The content would have to have a DVD menu added, that would have to align with the owners' marketing/presentation intentions for the video; not impossible, but an undertaking.

- The content would have to be transcoded to MPEG-2 Transport Stream for video DVD, which means that burning a single DVD video disc could take a LOT longer than burning, say, a CD.

- Technically, they could use unprotected H.264 on content destined for Blu-Ray Disc or HD-DVD players, since H.264 is a mandatory codec on all BD and HD-DVD players, but those players have nowhere near the market penetration to make it worthwhile.

There's a lot more here than meets the eye. Audio CD burning was a no brainer because there is no massively time consuimng transcoding (thus making the user experience poor), just uncompression, audio CDs didn't have any encryption, and there is no addtional content (DVD menus, etc.) to be managed.

DRM is a necessary evil for there to be an iTunes Store at all, and like it or not, Apple's preferences are in fact aligned with the customers, because Apple fought for:

- The least obtrusive DRM.
- The most customer rights of any legal online store also selling mainstream commercial content from major copyright holders.
- The first major commercial store that sold almost all audio content for the same price
- The first major commercial store that sold all content from all the major labels a la carte
- The first major commercial store that got video content owners to sell al la carte AND without commercials
- Etc.

Apple is a leader here, and DRM is a part of this service even existing. There is no scenario where Apple could have launched a store with no DRM, period.

[1] Hint: allofmp3.com is not in this category, because they're basically stealing all of the content under the guise of a "radio license" and letting anyone buy it worldwide for a fraction of its value in all other marketplaces - you may like allofmp3.com, but that doesn't make what they're doing legal within the legal and copyright frameworks that have been established. The only reason they're even able to do what they do is because they're in Russia, and even if you believe their argument, at MOST they should only be able to sell to people within Russia and even that's questionable. I realize that people who hate copyright and content owners think that allofmp3.com is a bunch of heroes, but that doesn't change the pure and simple truth that the iTunes Store WOULD NOT exist without DRM and the current agreements that are in place with the content owners.

Entirely incorrect on one point. (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702313)

Interesting points until you got to the end: "1] Hint: allofmp3.com is not in this category, because they're basically stealing all of the content"

In reality. Allofmp3 has stolen nothing. There are copyright problems as you mentioned, but it is extremely misleading to link them with theft.

Re:Entirely incorrect on one point. (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702541)

Actually, that's up for debate. I'm very familiar with the "it's not stealing because there is no deprivation" and "it's not 'stealing'; at most it's 'copyright infringement'" argument that people use to justify taking content for themselves that they feel they're entitled to without paying for it, because they think that the content owners charge too much, copyright is broken, the RIAA is evil, etc.

That I can almost stomach. Almost. But then selling it for a profit with none of the correct amount of compensation going back to the rights owners? (The radio license IS NOT adequate payment, because it is massively disparate from all other markets.)

Also, "stealing", by definition, contrary to popular opinion, does not require deprivation. At all. Look at the definition of "stealing". Further, stealing is a generic word, which has many meanings and for which we have many different legal descriptions that don't include the word "stealing". For example:

Embezzlement - stealing funds from a company or corporation
Burglary - stealing by illegally breaking and entering
Copyright infringement - stealing by misappropriating copyrighted content, or taking/using such content without payment

I know that the chain of logic is:

1. "stealing is wrong"
2. "but this is not stealing, it's copyright infringement"
3. "copyright is an artificial construct, and is nebulous (unlike 'stealing')"
3. "I think the copyright system is fundamentally broken, therefore, I'm not doing anything 'wrong' if I infringe on copyright"

The only thing "broken" here is the chain of logic justifying it. Copyright may not be perfect, and content owners may be greedily trying to take advantage of it. But when you take copyrighted content for yourself without paying for it - even if no one is "deprived" of it - you're still "stealing". Now, I'm not saying you, personally, infringe copyrights; I'm using the royal you. But if you feel you must, instead of justifying it by saying there are "copyright issues" realize that the only issue is that it is in fact "stealing", and it is on that basis that it must be justified.

Oops, an extra step 3 (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702599)

Just pick either step 3. ;-)

It's not up for debate (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702667)

Theft (stealing) and copyright infringement are two different situations (or crimes). Pointing this out is not an "argument that people use to justify taking content for themselves". It is merely pointing out that the definitions are different. If someone points out that a rape is not murder, then (using your logic) they are trying to justify the rape. Besides, no content is taken (your word) in copyright infringement.

"But then selling it for a profit with none of the correct amount of compensation going back to the rights owners?"

That sounds like a type of fraud, but not theft.

"Copyright infringement - stealing by misappropriating copyrighted content, or taking/using such content without payment"

Your burglary and embezzlement examples are correct. However, your above sentence is incorrect, since stealing does not occur. Nor does any sort of appropriation or taking. If I make a copy of your Porsche and drive away in the copy, I have not (mis)appropriated your Porsche, nor have I stolen or taken it.

"Also, "stealing", by definition, contrary to popular opinion, does not require deprivation"

Stealing is a specific word, not generic. And yes, it does require deprivation (taking).

"The only thing "broken" here is the chain of logic justifying it"

That is very true of the logic of those who use the word "stealing" without regard to its actual meaning. The usual logic is: stealing is wrong and copyright infringement is wrong. Therefore, copyright infringement is stealing. I'm not even bothering to justify the logic that copyright infringement is not wrong. I've never argued that. It is in fact a straw-man argument on your part. However, I'm trying to impress upon you the fact that there are other things that are wrong besides theft, and just because it is wrong does not mean it is theft.

Re:Entirely incorrect on one point. (1)

ElleyKitten (715519) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703633)

Also, "stealing", by definition, contrary to popular opinion, does not require deprivation. At all. Look at the definition of "stealing". Further, stealing is a generic word, which has many meanings and for which we have many different legal descriptions that don't include the word "stealing". For example:
Embezzlement - stealing funds from a company or corporation
Burglary - stealing by illegally breaking and entering
Embezzlement involves depriving a company of their money. If it did not, it would be money forgery, which is a different type of crime.

Burglary is a combination of breaking & entering and stealing. If I break into your house, admire your drapes, and then leave, that's breaking and entering. I'd have to take something for it to be burglary.

Copyright infringement isn't stealing, because the original owner still has the "stolen" object. That doesn't mean it's right (allofmp3.com I think is clearly in the wrong), that doesn't mean it has to be legal. That does mean it isn't theft, much like say, assault isn't theft.

Re:If what you said was true... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702673)

CSS would have to be applied to the DVD. This would make it the essential equivalent of a commercially purchased DVD. But content owners may be concerned that consumers would quickly find they could burn multiple DVDs. Even though CSS-protected commercial DVDs can be copied as-is now (without decrypting), most consumers don't know this can be done, and right or wrong, content owners don't really want people to know they can just copy DVDs and give them to their friends for free. (And no, it wouldn't be as easy to have number-of-times restrictions for burning DVDs like you can with iTunes playlists, but I suppose something like that could be explored.)

I don't believe this is as big an issue as they (MPAA etc) think. Anyone can copy any DVD they want to right now. I don't unless it's to make a copy for my daughter to destroy, like many others want to. I don't see the purported flood of illegal distribution out there.

The content would have to have a DVD menu added, that would have to align with the owners' marketing/presentation intentions for the video; not impossible, but an undertaking.

Why? I paid for it, I don't care about any of that crap. Just start the movie. I'm sure I'm not alone in this, and this one facet of DVD's has probably spurred more ripping of DVDs than any other. Disney is especially guilty in this category, pre-pending as much as 10 minutes of UPA crap before you even get to the menu. Those disks are immediately ripped for movie only, generally with even the beginning entries removed. They were there in the original, they're not needed on my personal copy that I wish to watch.

- The content would have to be transcoded to MPEG-2 Transport Stream for video DVD, which means that burning a single DVD video disc could take a LOT longer than burning, say, a CD.

And therein lies the largest detractor to copying from this media. I'm not sure it would be transcoded, as much as decoded and then re-encoded, along with all the losses that entails. The copy will still be good enough, considering that many of the rips on the internet are of camcorder films or horrbily compressed AVIs. The copy will be less than the original.

Re:If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703227)

If "Apple's preferences" were really "aligned with those of consumers", there'd be be no DRM hassle, and buyers of the content could easily burn it to DVD/etc to watch on their TVs.


I was part of an opinion poll that was fairly obviously from Apple. I told them that.

I basically said that if it has DRM, it's a rental, because you can take it away from me at any time. Therefore it has to be priced like a rental. The iTMS is competing with Netflix and Blockbuster, not purchased DVDs from a store.

If they had DVD-resolution movies for $3 each and a sensible way to get them to my TV, I'd be interested. Or if they had non-DRM movies I could keep forever for $10-20, I'd buy. Until they offer something competitive like that, I'll stick with DVDs, which are far more convenient as for $3 I can rent the DVD and put it in any DVD player or computer and not have to worry about DRM.(*)

[(*)Yes, I know about CSS. It's no more effective than the "do not copy" bit that was part of the original CD spec, so it doesn't count.]

Re:If Apple was really aligned with consumers.... (1)

Columcille (88542) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703255)

Do YOU like DRM?

Yes, I do. For a very simple and sensible reason. If there were no DRM there would be no legal content of this sort. I have no interest in illegally downloading media, and I know the studios would never offer their content DRM free. So DRM gives me a legal method to obtain the content I want. And in reality I have had very few problems due to DRM. It allows me to do what I want to do so I can't ask for more.

This is funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16701819)

This site is funnier than fuck!

www.sosecret.com [sosecret.com]

Not that they would ever do this, BUT... (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16701949)

What would happen if the big tech compamies started funding the production of copyleft music and movies and the like?

It might make for some interesting times.

all the best,

drew
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/262954 [ourmedia.org]
Sayings - Deterred Bahamian Novel.
In progress, watch it being written daily in ##zotz on irc.freenode.net

Re:Not that they would ever do this, BUT... (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702577)

How does the producer of a copyleft movie make money? You'll have to answer that question before big tech companies will consider it.

Re:Not that they would ever do this, BUT... (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702919)

And why exactly would I have to answer your question first? Perhaps, if you tried to answer mine, some answers to yours might suggest themselves?

I am assuming that you get "copyleft" mind you.

I know, I know, but I am sometimes willing to run that risk.

all the best,

drew
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/85937 [ourmedia.org]
Tings -Anuddah BahamiaN Novel

Re:Not that they would ever do this, BUT... (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703975)

You have to answer my question because the tech companies will not produce their own films unless they can make money from them. You propose that they allow copyleft distribution (yes, I get it) and I'm just curious as to how the tech company movie producers will recover their production costs in that method of distribution.

Re:Not that they would ever do this, BUT... (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702797)

They'd all go bankrupt after producing a bunch of crap no one actually wanted to watch or listen to. Any other questions?

Re:Not that they would ever do this, BUT... (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702941)

And what evidence or reasoning do you have to support this contention of yours?

Why not give a shot at actually answering the question? It might be worth it.

all the best,

drew
http://www.ourmedia.org/node/187924 [ourmedia.org]
Bahamian Nonsense

Where did the graph come from? (1)

swm (171547) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702011)

Is this real data?
Or did he just make some up?
The music graph and the video graph have identical data points.

What are the X and Y axes?
The red dot looks like it is at (369, 99).
$.99 is the iTunes retail price.
What is 369?

Re:Where did the graph come from? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702175)

Looks like some wall street type suit's despo attempt to stand out from the crowd.

Most wall-street mumbo-jumbo graphs have large arrows on axes, like "Better" pointing to north and "Worse" pointing south. And stuff like "Cheaper" towards west and "Costly" to East. And amorphous amoeba like blobs with different colours strewn there with labels like "Buyers' Marker" "Seller's Market" etc.

So this suit decides to put some real numbers on the axes like the real scientists and engineers do. And actually plot points and rectangular shaded region instead of the usual amoebas. I basically see some kernel of truth in his verbal arguments. So probably he is on the right track. But I think he would have been better off if he stuck to amoeba graphs. With absolutely no explanation, not even a hint, of how those points were calculated, this is the most charitable explanation I can come up with.

PS: I am sure he is very smart. Otherwise, why I would be working extremely hard on impossible problems for (relatively) low pay while he is, in all likelyhood, raking in millions of bucks drawing amoeba graphs?

Is it Math or Just pretty art? (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702065)

I was examining the author's so-called BATNA content. The chart's pretty impressive but what are the numbers supposed to mean? Without the grounding that shows me the math and the meat behind those numbers, it's just a bunch of dots strung together to make a point. If you're going to use the scientific appearance, make sure you use scientific methods as well.

The author's explanation: "A short explanation: the graph shows all efficient contracts (those where no contract exists that is better for both parties). The x-axis shows a contract's value to Apple, the y-axis shows a contract's value to the recording studio. The vertical and horizontal bar indicate the BATNAs for Apple and the studio, respectively. Contracts that are outside the shaded area are unacceptable to at least one party."

Huh? What's that again?

Those are just words, Show me the science, the methodology or do us all the favor and take the article and your charts down and come back when you have real science.

Re:Is it Math or Just pretty art? (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703153)

Hi! I'll write more posts on the algorithms in the future, but if you want to learn how the software works, take a look at the site [theoryint.com] or the Tutorial [theoryint.com] .

Article (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702091)

Save yourself some reading, here's what the article says:

Apple had an 80% market share of MP3 player hardware, and only offered their own proprietary format AAC for DRM (since MP3 has none). So studios had to concede to Apple's demands if they wanted any DRM control over their media on Apple hardware. Thus Apple was able to provide a better deal for consumers in that arena. Apple has no such leverage with the movie studios.

I left out a confusing explanation of BATNA, lots of banter like "I could buy movie X here or I could buy it here" and something about not having kids or taking them to Vegas, and grammatical errors like using to instead of two.

I'm curious why both BATNA charts (Music verses Movies) in the article are exactly the same - the plots are identical. Obviously they don't represent actual data, so are they just for illustration?

Dan East

Good PR? (1)

ruzel (216220) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702791)

So, his theory doesn't entirely make sense (how do you calculate BATNA again?). His article is riddled with grammatical errors (I caught three). And the article is the only one posted on the blog. Wherein lies this gentleman's credibility and why are we all discussing his article? Perhaps it's in the money he must have paid CowboyNeal to post the article to Slashdot.

iTV success = iTunes "movie" store success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16702139)

I think this is a bit of a chicken/egg situation. I don't think the iTunes movie store can be a success or get the content they want without a large iTV userbase. I also dont think they can get a large iTV userbase without a proper iTunes movie store.

Why digital distubution for Movies will win in tim (2, Interesting)

acomj (20611) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702145)

Why digital distubution for Movies will win in time

I've bought a few albums off itunes recently. I don't like the DRM hassles, and I like CDs. Here is why.

Selection. The last 3 CDs I bought I checked 3 record stores and 1 big box chain. They had none. Itunes had them. Itunes had them, and I got them for cheaper and in less time than if they were at the store. The tradeoff is a slight quality degradation and that DRM. I burn them to audio CDs anyway as one backup so I don't care. I miss the packaging but some CDs you buy online come with PDFs of the liner notes.

Itunes has lots of music and never runs out (I don't think it can.... Maybe bandwidth could kill the site). Any online sales of music have these advantages.

This is why ultimately I choose to buy online.

Movies will eventually come around for the same reason. Selection. Now only if we could get bigger pipes (and not clogged pipes) to get these movies faster..

Re:Why digital distubution for Movies will win in (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702355)

If they have the content to sell, the bandwidth wont be a big problem. Apple already has Apple Stores in most malls. They can set up Download Kiosks at gyms, grocery stores and other places with fiber optic connections and humongous bandwidth. Drop in, plug the vPod in, lock, take the key and go do your grocery shopping or workout. Take the vPod back on the way out. They can stream in DVD quality videos in 10 minutes in setups like this.

Also do you really care if they take all night to download a movie when you are sleeping or all day when you were at work? The bandwidth is NOT the issue, the selection is an issue.

Re:Why digital distubution for Movies will win in (1)

Steve525 (236741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702961)

The bandwidth is NOT the issue, the selection is an issue.

I'm going to disagree with you here, at least if you consider your competition rentals and not purchases. When people want to watch a movie, they want to watch it now, or at least that evening. Downloading kiosks are an interesting idea, but I'm not sure they have enough of an advantage over the current rental system to make it worthwhile. What people really want is to push a button in their living and instantly start watching. A minute delay while a buffer fills might be acceptable, but waiting until the next day probably isn't.

Having said this, a Netflix like scheme where you always have a few new movies on hand might work.

Re:Why digital distubution for Movies will win in (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703701)

Downloading kiosks are an interesting idea, but I'm not sure they have enough of an advantage over the current rental system to make it worthwhile.

You could go down to the mall, drop off your ipod, select a few movies ad go shopping, then pick up your ipod on the way out. I'll bet the Japanese could even automate the whole thing with a vending machine. Stick in your credit card and it returns your ipod to you.

Re:Why digital distubution for Movies will win in (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704059)

Agreed, Apple is likely going to win on this. Why? Because they've left themselves upgrade paths *that people want*.

In hardware, they can at least leverage 16:9 screens and higher resolution for their next generation video ipods. They can also add processing power and hardware conversion if that becomes economical (like high speed mpeg2 to mpeg4 conversion).

On the software aka media side, movies are doing something music isn't quite yet as an industry--increasing the quality of the product. (I realize there are higher fidelity music formats like SACD.) As it stands now, the major component of next generation video sales are the lasers and components. Not to mention 2 HD definition formats to choose from. People can either choose to drop $200-300 (in say, 2 years) on a BluRay or other HD player, or buy a video ipod. Not a hard choice to make.

All Apple has to do is have a product ready that will take care of high definition content and get *1* major blockbuster copyright holder to bite and offer it on the itunes store. Given also they are releasing a home player, 20GB downloads via bittorrent for HD content that is seeded by Apple on Akamai networks would slaughter the industry. Apple is going to take this step by step, but one thing they are damn good at is consistently progressing their product offerings and setting the relevant industries up in preparation of their next releases.

Intro to Business (2, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#16702199)

I think the article is an interesting (and accurate) bit of analysis contrasting the Music and Movie stores and how Apple gets content for them. However, tossing out the BANTA graphs, and the accompanying banter [pun intended] gives the article a feel not unlike a couple of MBA students presenting a case study to their professor. They (BANTA graphs) are useful tools for comparative analysis, but I've hardly ever seen them outside of a business school classroom.

Re:Intro to Business (1)

rancher dan 3 (960065) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703547)

You just gotta love a meaningless graph with a bunch of undefined data points. It forms a soothing oasis for the mind.

The Osbourne Effect (1)

just_forget_it (947275) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703027)

Personally, I'm not buying any movies from iTunes. I rarely buy movies as it is, and when I do, I usually just watch them once or twice, then to the shelf to collect dust they go. Anyway, when Apple announced movie downloads they also announced iTV. The fact is that I'm not buying movies from iTunes because I'm waiting for iTV. I have no desire to squint at a 2.5" screen to watch a movie.

It's strange they chose this tactic, since it drove Osbourne into the ground. When you promise something great, people stop buying because they want to wait and get the better version. I guess it doesn't hurt Apple to provide movie downloads now, even if sales are low. When the rest of the solution comes out, sales may pick up, but right now it's too early to tell.

Re: 2.5 inch screen (1)

benbritten (72301) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703591)

I am the same as you, in that you say you rarely watch a movie more than once or twice before it becomes clutter. However, this is why i like the online movie thing. For $10 i can see a movie in the comfort of my own home, (which, these days is often much better than spending $10 to see it in the theatres) and if i really like it i can keep it, and if i i only kinda like it, then i just delete it with no detrimental effects on the extra mess in my place.

you also mention:
"I have no desire to squint at a 2.5" screen to watch a movie." I hear this quite a bit, and I wonder if apple simply hasnt done enough education on their movies. I dont have a video iPod, i watch my movies and daily show clips either on my 23" cinema display or on my big sony tv via s-video. (both from my laptop) It seems to me that many people might think that the video iPod is the only way you can watch this content. (i am not necessarily accusing you of this, but i have noticed that a very many people seem to have this assumption)

I have also heard people complain about the resolution of said content. Even before they upped the default rez of everythng to 640x480, all of the stuff i bought and watched looked just fine. I think people put it on fullscreen on their desktop monitor and then are dissapointed by the pixelation and artifacting. I would challenge these people to roll their deskchairs up, and sit two feet away from their expensive 50 inch rear-projection TV. They would be just as dissapointed in the blurryness and pixelation.

my desktop looks like ass through an s-video interface to my living room tv, but once i get the daily show running up there i can't tell the difference between that and cable.
 

Big problem for consumers (1)

brado77 (686260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703627)

Nice analysis done in the article, but it was overkill. The iTunes movie model is problematic for consumers, and differs from the iTunes music model on one major point:

- with music, you can burn your music to CD.

- with movies, you cannot burn your music to DVD.

In other words, you aren't completely device dependent with music. You are completely device dependent with DVD's. Most people don't want to watch a movie on their computer, even if they have a nice cinema display (I do, I know). I don't want to sit in my office in my office chair to watch a movie. I want to sit in my living room, on my comfortable couch, and pipe the audio through a good stereo, as it plays on myy DVD player. Likewise, movies I might buy for my kids, I cannot play them in our minivan DVD player on long trips (which if you have three very energetic boys like I do, really helps long drives). With music, the only value lost from buying on iTunes is the CD and cover insert. With movies, the value lost is significant, the ability to play the movie elsewhere.

Apple could mitigate this buy making A/V or S-Video outputs on the video iPod. (Perhaps this is in the works, I haven't checked). But device dependence is going to stifle movie sales on iTunes until people are able to play their movies where they want to. Its understandable that DRM is being used to protect copyrights, but once it starts disabling your ability to use what you've purchased, its worthless.

Re:Big problem for consumers (1)

ajdowntown (91738) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704467)

Just so you know, apple is taking care of this problem, it is called iTV (for know, the name will probably change). iTV will allow the video to be streamed from the computer to your television. I am going to assume that once Apple has proved the success of iTV, that is when the major studios will jump in. Heck, when iTV coes out, I am going to jump on the bandwagon, and get myself one. I am looking forward to this device. The only thing I ask og the device is a way to add additional storage for the movies (movies get quite large, and I want to have by entire library at my disposal), as well as being able to play mutiple movie formats (mpeg, avi, etc). I am not worried though, Apple will work it out, and I will be adding to my collection really soon, and iTV, video iPod, and not to mention, the upcoming iPhone. Me and my MacBook can hardly wait...

Batna Shmatna... (1)

SnowDog74 (745848) | more than 7 years ago | (#16703879)

Who is Matthias Winkelmann and why should I care about his hackneyed (read: unsubstantiated) analysis?

From what source data does he derive these so-called BATNA charts? I'm a financial analyst responsible for revenue analysis and forecasting of over $250 million and what I see here is no clothes, no emperor... just a straw man argument.

His definition of BATNA is extremely arbitrary in the sense that one has to accept what HE defines as Best Alternative to even believe the graph's imaginary plots and quadrants... and then assume that he really knows what was going on in the contract negotiations, which he doesn't.

Case in point: In August, Lions Gate Films CEO let slip that they had already secured digital distribution with Apple. I *presume* (I don't claim to know) this means that currently, they're working out the logistics of library transcoding and content delivery. This is not something that happens over night, folks... And for an existing back-library, studios might be apprehensive about trickling out a title here, a title there... To achieve any kind of break-even, they might need to get the entire library up so they have a "shelf presence" on iTunes Store all at once... giving them better visibility and a better chance of getting volume on their backlog of older films that, typically, don't do as high a collective volume as new releases all put together.

Its also incorrect to claim that the iTMS model had pushed record companies in a corner to need DRM. Why? If that were the scenario, and I were your typical short-sighted CEO, my response would probably be, "Why should I bow to the distribution model of a company that has less than five percent of the PC market?" The answer is a bit more complicated than Winkelmann would like to think.

Record companies balked at internet distribution since it became a possibility in the early to mid 1990's. By 1996, RealAudio and Quicktime had given rise to, albeit imperfect, reasonable multimedia content delivery systems.... Quicktime being the vastly superior of the two. However, the PERCEPTION among industry pundits was that the demand was not overwhelming. This was partly due to the fact that they didn't view piracy as competition, and more importantly because they didn't have a clue, technologically speaking, of internet distribution's potential.

Enter iTunes... iTunes arrived at least three years prior to the inception of iTunes Music Store. At this time, Apple was still in the process of trying to prove a point concerning the "appliance" model of thinking with regard to electronic devices and the "digital hub" mentality toward the computer as the backbone of home entertainment and productivity.

A billion downloads later, Apple has proved their point.... at least as far as music is concerned. However, while iTunes was useful before the music store emerged, because the LACK of DRM on CD's (not the lack or presence of DRM on iTunes, mind you) allowed users to easily make use of iTunes to store their existing library.

The same cannot be said of DVD's... At least not for the majority of us. It's considerably more cumbersome to rip a DVD than a CD, and this inconvenience makes it a bit more difficult, but not impossible, for Apple to prove a point regarding the utility of iTunes as a digital hub for movie exhibition in the home.

So the hurdle is not about Best Alternatives, BATNA, or any imaginary negotiations on contracts taking place in Winkelmann's head. It's about hard numbers... the hard numbers were there to prove that not only did people want digital distribution and a user-friendly UI, but the combination of the two proved to be worth the premium (paying instead of pirating). It took TIME to prove this, yes... but that's what Winkelmann doesn't seem to get. iTunes Music Store was not an overnight success... It seems like it's been around forever to those of us who were first adopters (honestly I have trouble remembering when exactly in my usage of iTunes the Music Store came along), but it was a good 2-3 years before Apple had any idea of the consumer adoption of the iTunes platform itself (sans iTMS) and customer feedback to help shape the UI, and another year or two after iTMS emerged that they had extremely robust data to prove they were more than just a blip on SoundScan's radar.

iTV will mark the BEGINNING of a viable distribution model with an actual end-to-end solution... because unlike music, people have exhibited a much stronger preference to viewing movies on their television than the preference they exhibit to listening to music in their living room, and currently there is no easy way to facilitate this but there's another dilemma:

By the time Apple both convinces studios to let consumers burn DVD's in the living room AND develops and implements a method on par with the ease of use of the rest of their iTunes features, will the standard definition DVD be, to paraphrase a company that has stumbled in its attempts to lead the multimedia revolution, where they want to go tomorrow, or where they should have gone yesterday?

Enter High Definition... Apple's not kidding around. By incorporating HDMI, component video and digital audio into the iTV device, Apple has committed themselves to a forward-compatible device that will support SD and HD content. This means there's no viable "burn to DVD" model because there won't be any cost-effective HD-DVD or Blu-Ray DVD burners on the market in the immediate future... but that's not necessarily a problem.

As consumers have become more familiar with the iPod concept, and storing their entertainment as encoded content stored as digital files, we're at the same nexus as when DCC and DAT tried to take a step backwards from the already-efficient CD. Once you move a step forward and convince consumers that optical media offer conveniences that magnetic tape media do not, do you understand why DCC and DAT failed? So, does it make sense to even worry about burning DVD's when wireless streaming of High Definition content makes both the SD DVD and the idea of optical disk playback irrelevant in terms of portability, ease of use, and upgradability? Consider that on a computer, format wars can be ended with software upgrades... Mp3 outdated? No problem, install Ogg Vorbis codec, rinse, repeat... This is not true of AV hardware.

So, the portability bug of iPod has already bitten the consumer market and surveys show they would use their computers as a digital hub for TV *IF* they could easily stream the content from their computer TO their TV.

What this means is not that I have a slam dunk in my ad-hoc hypothesis of internet distribution as it applies to movies.... It means that I *and* Winkelmann and every executive in Hollywood needs to shut up and watch the numbers come in WHEN iTV is introduced. Why? Because what consumers want and what they are willing to settle for (read: what they end up buying) are often not the same thing. Just because they say they want fourteen cupholders in a minivan with radar guided child seats doesn't mean they won't settle for a Ford Focus with power locks and a parking brake.

Hell, if movies are any proof... look at the crap they're willing to shell out ten bucks for. But this is not where the testbed begins. First adopters in Apple's court are affluent folks who love gadgets and set a brand standard to which other consumers, and other brands, aspire. I'm not saying this is a good or bad thing... I'm just saying that initially, all Apple has to do is get enough of a library to attract their first adopters to it, and other consumers will follow, driving more demand, making a business case for more content, attracting more studios, so they can sell to a wider customer base... and so on.

Apple did not sell a billion downloads of songs overnight, but Disney projects based on their initial volumes that they alone will net $50 million in the first year, and this is without even having iTV and HD-resolution content on the market yet -- much less DVD resolution content for that matter. It's not gangbusters, but it's a start... which is more than I can say for Winkelmann and his unsubstantiated constructs.

you @FAIL it?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16704287)

THINKING ABOUT IT. For t4e project.

customers? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16704459)

How strongly is Apple really aligned with the customers?

My MacBook Pro has a region-locked DVD drive - the first such that I've encountered in years. No workaround on the 'net as well, because it's in the firmware.

Doesn't sound like consumer alignement to me, sorry.
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