If and when movie studios and exhibitors agree on a premium video-on-demand (PVOD) service, Apple's iTunes will have the upper hand as the delivery platform, according to Business Insider.
PVOD is a term for titles that would be available to rent or buy before being made available on most streaming services or through Blu-ray and DVD releases. Industry players don't want movies to be available on PVOD simultaneously with theatrical releases because the first two weeks of a theatrical run are still when studios and exhibitors make the bulk of a movie's income.
Though PVOD hasn't happened yet, some pundits feel it's only a matter of time. Last year, tech billionaire Sean Parker announced plans for a streaming service dubbed Screening Room that would give users the ability to watch major movies still in theaters from their homes for $50. Not surprisingly, the potential service has been very divisive in the movie biz.
However, iTunes might make Screening Room obsolete, according to Business Insider. For years, iTunes has gotten first dibs on movie titles for home viewing before other providers. Sources tell Business Insider that whenever studios and exhibitors want to go down the PVOD path, they most likely would put their trust in a service they already work with, like iTunes — or build an internal PVOD streaming service — rather than a newcomer like Screening Room.
"If an earlier window gets put in place, iTunes would probably have some say in being part of the earlier window," one source said.
Apple has been in talks with studios about making movies available on iTunes two weeks after theatrical debuts, Bloomberg reported in December.
"I think iTunes is the logical choice," said Jeff Bock, the senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. "It's what everybody has, and if the price point is right, Screening Room is cut out. Nobody needs them. And to build that infrastructure with Screening Room would take a long time. Screening Room has a really tough hill to climb."