Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fox flick rentals from iTunes (maybe)

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Twentieth Century Fox and Apple will announce a deal in which Fox movies would be available for rental downloads through Apple's iTunes Store.

Apple has been trying to persuade studios to agree to a rental plan, in which consumers could download movies that could be played for a limited time. Until now, no studio has agreed to such a deal.

In a related move, Fox also plans to release DVDs that use Apple's digital rights management system, a move that would allow consumers to make legal copies of the disc that could be played on an iPod or other device, such as a computer.

Apple already sells movies from some studios via iTunes, which consumers can keep permanently. Walt Disney sells both new releases and catalog titles. Some others, such as Paramount, sell only older movie titles through iTunes.

Rentals could help Apple boost its online video efforts by giving consumers more options for accessing movies. Sales of video through Apple's iTunes Store have failed to grow at the same pace as the site's music downloads.

It is unclear whether rentals will help the company sign up many more movie studios to sell through iTunes. Apple's video offerings lack a comprehensive movie selection, and some studios have resisted making deals to sell through iTunes because of Apple's pricing, which is lower than the price for a DVD.

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