After years of negotiating with the movie studios, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) Steve Jobs finally got them to agree to put their movies on iTunes the same day as they release them on DVD. Now, in addition to Disney (NYSE:DIS)—which has been selling movies on iTunes since September, 2006—Apple is distributing 1,500 films from 20th Century Fox (NASDAQ:NWS), Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX), Paramount Pictures (NYSE:VIA), Universal Studios Home Entertainment (NYSE:GE), Sony Pictures Entertainment (NYSE:SNE), Lionsgate (LGF), Image Entertainment (OTC:DISK) and First Look Studios. New movies can now be purchased for $15, or rented for $4 (older movies are $10 for purchase or $3 for rental).
Apple watchers have been expecting this for a long time. It announced a deal to distribute rentals in January, and even that leaked out beforehand. But both Amazon and Netflix already have their own movie download and/or streaming services. And both offer more titles—Netflix has more than 6,000 and Amazon has nearly 12,000. (Although, Amazon may be rethinking its Unbox service).
It was only a matter of time before the studios relented and struck a deal with Apple. They could only stand on the sidelines and watch Disney ring in the coin for so long. The idea of distribution windows is so Twentieth Century anyway. How long before movies appear online the same day they hit the movie theaters? Come on Steve, we’re counting on you.