The ThinkSecret website has an insider tip that Apple will soon be announcing movie rental services in iTunes. Writes ThinkSecret:
"With three weeks until Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, Think Secret has learned exclusively that CEO Steve Jobs will use his keynote address to announce the debut of movie rentals through the iTunes Music Store. While the announcement will undoubtedly be billed as a further extension of iTunes' dominance in digital media downloads, it represents a coup for the movie industry, which will have succeeded in standing its ground against Apple's pressures to offer consumers the option of owning movie downloads."
The key point in this (upcoming) news is that movies will be available for rental, rather than following the existing iTunes music formula of purchasing songs. Users will still download the media items (in this case movies), but will not own it. So options include a subscription or rental-based model - with Steve Jobs favoring the rental model.
The downloads will probably be coded with a date stamp that will restrict playback, according to expert sources of ThinkSecret:
"It is not known exactly how the coding system will work, but industry experts tell Think Secret that the software would likely either limit the number of playbacks or provide unlimited viewing for a period of time, after which the movie will be "turned off" and no longer available."
I have some reservations about the rental model, People nowadays prefer to own movie content, rather than rent itbecause one strong trend in the movie/video business over the past 5 or so years has been the growth of the DVD market. A lot of people purchases DVDs to own, in addition to or in place of renting DVDs at the local video store. This trend has intensified as the market for big screen TVs and projector equipment has grown - meaning people can get a near-movie theatre experience in their own homes. So those people often prefer to buy their own DVDs and watch them at their leisure, rather than go to the movies or rent DVDs. So in this sense I worry that iTunes Movies will not satisfy a real desire by users to own their own movie content.
On the other hand I certainly see the appeal in being able to download movies onto my PC, via iTunes. I already have it installed for music, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to also use it for movies. Hmmm, I wonder if Netflix is suddenly becoming a little nervous!