Despite rumors that Apple was planning to implement Netflix style streaming via a service reportedly dubbed “iTunes Replay”, it seems that existing studio contracts will prevent Apple from doing so anytime soon.
According to CNET, Apple hasn’t yet signed “cloud agreements for feature films with at least four of the top six film studios.”
One of the hurdles facing Apple in inking deals with film studies is something called the HBO window.
During specific periods of time–often referred to in the film industry as windows–HBO owns the exclusive electronic distribution rights of films from three of the six top films studios: 20th Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros. Any retailer that wishes to sell physical DVDs from these studios during HBO’s window is totally unrestricted. But online retailers are legally prevented from delivering movie downloads from the three HBO-restricted studios during HBO’s window and they also can’t stream titles from those studios. This means that right now iTunes can’t stream a movie to a customer during the HBO window that the customer may have purchased outside of the window.
Industry insiders also relayed that Apple has no plans, at least for the time being, to release a video-on-demand streaming service a’la Netflix.
CNET has a lot more on Apple’s efforts to secure cloud streaming rights over here.