Apple is an Internet retailer and Netflix is a Web video rental service, but Hollywood treats them as if they are potential competitors to TV broadcasters.
In the past two weeks, customers of iTunes and Netflix’s streaming digital-movie service have noticed that a growing number of titles are disappearing from the sites or are scheduled to be removed…
What has happened is Apple and Netflix have crashed into windows. “Release windows” is the term used to describe periods of time a certain type of media is allowed to show a movie. Typically, a feature film is first released in theaters, then on DVD, followed by pay-per-view channels and finally on broadcast TV.Normally, release windows don’t affect retailers or video-rental services after they’ve begun selling or renting films. Warner Bros. doesn’t go into Best Buy and pull DVDs off the shelf when Comcast airs Casablanca. The corner Mom and Pop video store doesn’t surrender copies of Gladiator to Universal Studios when the film appears on ABC. But Internet stores are being treated differently. What this means for iTunes and Netflix customers is that movies will pop in and out of the services.