Hollywood now classifies iTunes as a competitor to television networks. That’s the seeming reason behind Apple yanking a number of movies from its online video rental and sales, according to a recent report.
When Hollywood licenses movies for TV network airing, they provide a “release window” during which the broadcast is exclusive. In other words, if CBS buys rights to a movie, it can be sure NBC won’t air the same show during that timeframe.
But since first-release DVDs are also a lucrative revenue stream for Hollywood, that “release window” restriction has never been applied to brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Blockbuster or BestBuy.
CNET now reports Hollywood enforced its “release window” against iTunes and Netflix, an action that had some iTunes users scratching their heads as “Michael Clayton”, “Atonement”, “Charlie Wilson’s War” and other flicks mysteriously vanished from shopping carts.
“If they say they don’t want Apple, Netflix or any other Internet retailer selling or renting films inside their window then that’s the way it is,” the report quotes two unnamed studio executives.
Online movie distribution is just the latest venue to be added to the “distribution window” rule, according to Mike McGuire, media analyst at Gartner.
“It has to do with the advertising model that is the bedrock of TV business models,” McGuire told Cult of Mac.