Saturday, January 19, 2008

How long are studios going to offer a rent only option on iTunes?

I was looking around at the various movies that have been added to iTunes for rental, and the thing I see over and over again in customer reviews is enthusiasm for seeing a movie people have wanted in iTunes, but only with a rental option, not a buy. For example, look at Transformers (opens in iTunes). I have taken a screenshot for posterity:

How long until studios realize they are missing out on a revenue opportunity? How quickly until Apple users a fleet of comments from all the new movies that are rent only to go back to the studios and negotiate for a purchase option too? For a lot of iTunes customers, going to a store and buying a DVD, even if it includes an iTunes copy with the movie, is just not going to be good enough. They don't want the disc, they just want the digital copy.

For the movies that are rent and buy, when is there going to be an option to upgrade for a rental to a buy? In the old world, this was always possible at some place like Blockbuster, and when I went to mom and pop video rental, they would offer that kind of option, but now with iTunes its a no-brainer. I am not saying necessary a straight rental price deduction from the buy price, but some discount means more revenue for studios. Are they ever going to get it?