Windows pundit and out of the closet iPhone lover Paul Thurrott brings his usual brand of over-the-top Apple baiting and legitimate griping to bear on iTune's recent announcement of "day and date" movie downloads, where iTunes will offer the latest from Hollywood for sale (not rental!) the same day as DVDs are released.
Thurrott rightly points out that $15 for no-extras, unilingual, often non-captioned, DRM-laden movies is just too pricey, and even (though in a later point) that Hollywood is charging apple a whopping $16 per film, meaning Apple is taking a $1 hit on every movie they sell (as a loss leader to drive iPhone and iPod sales).
And greedy, gluttonous movie studios wonder why people are willing to go through the hassle of pirating (JAR!) content?
He also tells us rental movies don't get the "day and date" treatment, even though Hollywood grants that privilege to CinemaNow and Movielink (whom he makes sure to mention had "day-and-date" purchases before iTunes as well).
But the movie industry is afraid of Apple "ruining" their business the way Apple "ruined" music. It couldn't possibly be that the advent of the internet allowed creators to connect with consumers without the usury and distribution oligopoly of old media?
What says Thurrot?
I'd point out two things: That the ongoing migration from physical media (VHS, DVD) in the entertainment world mirrors a similar migration in software delivery, from physical media (floppy, CD, DVD) to subscription services and cloud computing. More pertinent to this story however, is the notion that anyone who is buying digital movies from iTunes (or any other service) is simply wasting their money. The future is anywhere, anytime on-demand delivery of content, delivered as subscription service. The very notion that someone needs to "own" a movie is outdated, especially when that movie is an intangible and demonstrably inflexible DRM-encoded digital file.
Fairly priced, DRM-free content, let's say new movie rentals for $2 and purchases for $4, and there would be no casual piracy (and greatly reduced piracy in general). Volume pricing, given the economy of moving around nearly-free bits via legitimate p2p within a network may not be a working business model for the movie industry, but then again, it could just make them a fortune...
At that point it becomes, like iTunes music, an impulse buy, and I know I would spend more per month on that than I do now on physical media that costs them much more to produce and distribute.
What do you think?