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Explanation for 24-Hour Movie Rental Playback Window: Placating Cable Companies

Saul Hansell:

Amid the frenzy, it’s worth noting that Apple did not get Hollywood to change the key restrictions it had placed on Internet downloads. Once people start watching their rented movies, they can only see them for a 24-hour period. (Apple does allow a movie to be started on one device and finished on another.) The studios want to keep this restriction so Internet rentals have the same terms as cable pay-per-view movies.

Hansell doesn’t quote a source for that, but I heard the same thing from someone in the know here at the Expo: the 24-hour playback limit was imposed by the studios, specifically because they (the studios) didn’t want to antagonize cable (and, I suppose, satellite TV) companies selling video on demand with 24-hour expirations.

They’re idiots, because I think they’d make more money with a longer window, say, 48 or 72 hours, because more people would rent movies.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008