Macenstein suggests Apple may be planning to introduce a subscription system to download movies through their iTunes store:
Earlier this week, Reuters asked Steve Jobs whether the iTunes store would ever adopt a subscription based approach to music instead of Apple’s current purchase-only model. “Never say never, but customers don’t seem to be interested in it,” Jobs said. “The subscription model has failed so far.”
Quite right. However there is one area of the iTunes store where there can be no doubt that a “renting” model has worked for decades, and that is the home video business. Companies such as Blockbuster and Netflix do quite a nice business providing movie rentals, and the idea of moving that rental (or “subscription” model) to the movies section of iTunes makes a great deal of sense.
First of all, the movies Apple sells are not quite DVD quality. Movie enthusiasts, the kind who enjoy BUYING all their movies, are very much into the pristine video quality, DVD extras, and surround sound capabilities of a DVD. At the moment, those people are not likely to pay close to full price for a movie on iTunes when for a couple bucks more they can own the real thing. Those people would be more likely to join an iTunes subscription service for movies, and use it as a test drive to see if they like a film before purchasing it on DVD.