Cinema chains must be super worried right now.
Major Hollywood studios are deciding whether to offer digital rentals of films mere weeks after they appear in theatres, according to Bloomberg, which talked to unnamed people "familiar with the matter". These sources claimed that Universal Pictures and Warner Bros are talking with potential distributors, including Apple, about ways to offer their films early, despite objections from theatres.
Apple might ink a deal with the studios as soon as next year, which means iTunes would be able to offer films within 17 days of their theatrical debut. But they won't be cheap. They'll apparently cost about $50 (converts to £39), though films made available four to six weeks from their release will cost $30. Most films aren't released digitally or on DVD until three months after their theatrical release.
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Right now, you probably pay between $10 to $20 a ticket to see a movie in the theatre, so you'll be paying a premium in order to watch it from the comfort of your couch a few weeks after it hits cinemas. The high price of this premium video on demand, or PVOD, service is expected to stem the continuing decline in DVD sales. Bloomberg first reported on PVOD discussions in December.
At the time, it claimed 21st Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros were all seeking deals with Apple.