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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Watching movies still in theaters may be Apple's next trick – but there’s a catch

iTunes could possibly get new flicks just days after theaters
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Apple may not have the same cachet in the movie streaming biz as Netflix or Amazon, but the company may be looking to make a big push in the form of renting movies still fresh in theaters.

Major studios are in talks with the iPhone maker to bring early-access rentals of brand-new movies to iTunes, sources familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg.

Among some of the interested moviemakers mentioned in the report are 21st Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. 

Though no concrete plans have cemented yet, some executives are reported as willing to release movies to iTunes as early as two weeks after hitting theaters.

Following less-than-booming returns in home video and ticket sales, early-access renting could recoup money for studios from interest customer who just can't be bothered with a trip out to the theater on opening weekend.

On Apple's end, the deal could potentially help the iTunes service stand out considerably from the competition, which normally wait months after a movie hits theaters to get the streaming rights.

So, here's the issue...

Even if Apple - or any other company, for that matter - reaches an agreement with movie studios to rent new releases, other barriers may still come into play.

The first is price - to make up for theoretical ticket sales lost on the home market, one option under consideration would be charging premium prices. 

According to the report, these fees could range anywhere between $25 to $50 for a single home screening - suddenly you're not saving that much skipping the theaters.

The second barrier is piracy. Without the proper technology to watermark films or trace leaked copies, studios are concerned streaming brand-new movies in homes would become easy prey for bootleggers.

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