Variety magazine is reporting that Amazon.com is preparing to enter the movie download market this week with a new service. The interesting part is that it claims that Apple's service will only offer movies from Disney:
The only studio that will definitely be part of Apple's movie store at launch is Disney. Other studios will likely join iTunes in the next year.This is a stark contrast to the belief that all of the major studios would participate in Apple's video service. Not to mention the recent comments by Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer that they had signed a deal with Apple.
A Wed designer recently uncovered pages on Amazon's site for a new service called "Unbox Video" and Ars Technica has the scoop on Amazon's video pricing strategy:
Television shows, including The Office, are $1.99, while most movies visible in the screenshots cost about $10. The site currently has titles like Walk the Line, Syriana, and Curious George, so Amazon has apparently convinced the studios to license recent films (Warner and Fox look to be on board), not just the greatest hits of the 80s. Amazon will also rent films, though no word yet on what that will cost.
Amazon's prices appear to be substantial less than the US$10-$15 Apple is rumored to be considering for movie downloads.
The key difference between the services is that Amazon has several price tiers, where Apple has only two and that Amazon will offer sales and rentals but Apple will only offer sales. Regardless of price, Apple has a key advantage with movie downloads from the iTunes Music Store - they will play on the iPod. Amazon's titles won't.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the battle for the studios and what each company's DRM strategy will be.
WSJ and ARS Technica have more...