The mainstream press was all over Apple’s iTV announcement. Steve Jobs has struck a deal with Disney (surprise, we knew that) to sell movies through iTunes. Before jumping on the Apple bandwagon consider the significant differences between selling movies online and selling music.

  • Consumers like to own music, but rent movies. iTunes doesn’t offer a movie rental option. Amazon’s new service allows rentals.
  • Though iTunes was developed to feed the iPod, users have the option of burning a CD and playing their music on standard players. iTunes movies cannot be burned to DVDs. iTunes movie viewers will be tethered to their Macs, PCs, and iPods until iTV is released in early 2007.
  • iTV is yet another set top box. Consumers have enough of those. An STB that requires an 802.11 connection? Just ask the Geek Squad how comfortable consumers are setting up wireless networks. It’s completely possible that Apple will figure this out and make configuring a home network as easy as configuring an iPod, but don’t bet on it. Airport’s just as much a pain in the neck as a Linksys to set up.
  • Archiving will be a problem. If consumers can’t burn DVDs, purchased movies must live on hard drives. We know how well consumers back up their data.

Apple’s requiring a level of sophistication from iTunes movie buyers beyond what is required of music buyers, has added more cumbersome digital rights management, and has yet to release a device as elegant as the iPod for movie buyers. This might not be a slam dunk.

3 Thoughts on “iWhatever

  1. As to the first point – yes Amazon Unbox allows rentals, but in every respect, including rentals, the service is just not what the public want, and it has been universallly panned in every review.

    Jobs’s announcements don’t make sense, but neither did the iPod and iTMS wen they were announced.


  2. Like Apple, Amazon is great at reinvention. The biggest big box retailer of the web became the biggest ASP. It will figure out the UI.

    Will Apple yield to the rental model? I don’t know. It’s been very inflexible with iTunes to date.

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