For some time now, many moviegoers have begun to opt for watching newer theatrical releases from the comfort of their own home, and the proliferation of high-definition, wide-screen televisions readily afforded to general consumers has only made that alternative more attractive. It’s a hassle to get to the theater, and oftentimes it’s even harder to track down a local screening of some of the smaller, independent releases from year-to-year.
Up until this point, online video and on-demand services like iTunes have seen fit to offer rental downloads of several motion picture productions for potential viewers at a fraction of the price allotted to regular movie theater admission. So far, however, major Hollywood studios have proven unwilling to let their most recent theatrical releases to be offered simultaneously on the iTunes store, but the latest word has a number of big names in the entertainment industry reconsidering that stance.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is currently pursuing several interested Hollywood studios to bring brand new feature length releases to the iTunes store just two weeks after their theatrical debut – with 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures leading the charge. Following the unveiling of a similarly minded online movie rental service called Screening Room – which is currently being developed by Napster founder Sean Parker – the pressure is on to get more movies to consumers outside of the confines of the movie theater.
A central concern that has been voiced when it comes to allowing new movies to be rented and viewed online from the comfort of the consumer’s own home is the threat of video piracy and the stability of current encryption technology. To address those concerns, Cuppertino, California-based Apple is working on ways to offer a safe guard against that potential problem – whereas Screening Room has already outlined their utilization of watermark technology in order to track all potential content leaks.
Whichever direction big Hollywood studios like 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures ultimately take will undoubtedly change the landscape of movie distribution entirely – though whether or it will be for the better or for the worse remains to be seen. It’s hard to argue with the apparent accessibility of the online rental platforms currently under development on the behalf of Apple and Screening Room, so here’s to hoping that a deal will be reached with one of the two competing services in the near future.