Apple (AAPL) is close to signing Paramount and Warner Bros to its forthcoming movie rental service, BusinessWeek says. Paramount was expected. Warner is a surprise. The two studios will join Disney and Fox, which have reportedly already been signed.
- The studios refuse to agree to standardized pricing (a bane of the music industry, now that Apple has taken the music industry to the cleaners).
- The studios are also insisting on different terms with regard to release dates.
- Lions Gate may allow Apple to rent movies but not sell new releases.
- As expected, Sony and Universal have no plans to play ball.
- Apple’s selection will be respectable but not the biggest in the industry.
Comcast (CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts has “great admiration” for Steve Jobs, but thinks cable is going to clean his clock: “We offer more movies, TV shows, and video content than anyone else—and we intend to expand our position.” With its recently announced expansion of VOD from 1,800 movies to 6,000, Comcast will likely have more movies available than Apple, and rentals from the two companies will both cost about $3.99.
BusinessWeek also says Apple is planning a major upgrade of the disappointing Apple TV. Our Dan Frommer explains what the upgrade should include here.
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