Apple on Thursday announced that iTunes would get new movie releases from studios the same day as their DVD release, but the larger question is whether this move can give Apple TV more traction.
Let's face it: Apple TV is an interesting experiment for Apple, but it's a bit orphaned at the moment. When folks talk Apple they talk about three products: Mac, iPhone and iPod. Apple TV, which has been improved in its second iteration, is the odd product out.
However, now that iTunes will benefit from getting releases quickly from the likes of 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, Image Entertainment and First Look Studios the Apple TV equation may change a bit (see Apple statement, Techmeme and Jason O'Grady.
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These movies, priced between $14.99 for new releases and $9.99 for catalog titles, make Apple TV a more credible movie rental device and could spur a few impulse purchases. As for iTunes, getting titles quickly is likely to boost revenue for the service, which is rapidly coming into its own as a line item on Apple's earnings report
In a research note, Cross Research said:
Apple substantially advanced its AppleTV, iPod and iTunes platform by offering day and date availability for movie releases. The announcement, which puts digital downloads on equal footing with physical DVD distribution, is both broader than expected in terms of studio support and appears to be ahead of competitors Microsoft and Amazon. We believe simultaneous availability for music has helped the iTunes Music Store grow share and would expect a similar benefit for iTunes movies.
Is this new DVD distribution a game changer for Apple TV? Perhaps. The move certainly won't hurt.