Apple Hops Into Movie Rental Market

    January 16, 2008

Pretty much everyone knew that Apple intended to enter the movie rental market.  And now that it’s done so, well . . . perhaps the anticipation was better than Apple’s actual arrival.

Let’s start with pricing.  Apple is asking $3.99 for newer titles, and $2.99 is the fee associated with older films.  This seems reasonable, but is not attractive in and of itself; a person could get unlimited online viewing from Netflix for $8.99 per month.  Also, many folks have figured out how to obtain movies for free.Apple Hops Into Movie Rental Market

What about selection, then?  (We’ve heard) it can be hard to find some films through illegal networks.  But Frame Watch‘s Talia writes, "Apple will have to step up their selection (numbered at 100 flicks right now, with a projected assortment of 1,000 films by the end of February) if they want to compete with Netflix in the race for online rentals . . ."

Finally, there are the strange terms surrounding Apple’s downloads.  Let a movie sit idle on your computer, if you want, for up to 30 days – that’s no problem.  But start watching it, and you’ll need to wrap things up and make any repeat viewings within the next 24 hours.

Of course, Apple’s got a dedicated fan base, and it remains to be seen how popular these movie rentals will be; shares of Blockbuster and Netflix fell yesterday, but so did Apple’s stock, and the rest of the market, as well.