The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple will use its special event next week to add full-length movie downloads to the iTunes Music Store, but that the company has so far only signed up Disney and no other major Hollywood studio. In contrast, Amazon.com plans this week to unveil its new Windows Media-based movie-downloading store with films from all of the major Hollywood studios except Disney. Apple’s lack of studio partnerships is due to Apple’s refusal to charge higher prices for new releases. Apple reportedly plans to sell older movies for $9.99 and $14.99 for new releases. According to Variety, Amazon.com’s movie prices will range from $9.99 to $19.99—about the same as those for other online movie services such as CinemaNow, Movielink and AOL. The movies on both stores are expected to go on sale at the same time as the DVD versions are released.
Apple was always expected to have no problem signing Disney because of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ role as a Disney board member and large Disney shareholder. In October of 2005, months before Jobs sold Pixar and joined the Disney board, Apple launched the TV show section on the iTunes Music Store with only a handful of shows from Disney’s ABC unit. Other networks quickly followed, adding their content throughout the rest of the year and into 2006.
In addition to launching full-length movie downloads, Apple also next week will announce a revamped lineup of iPods, according to the Journal. “Among the devices expected as early as next week is a version of the video iPod with more storage capacity than Apple’s current high-end model, which has 60 gigabytes of memory for storing up to 150 hours of video. Apple is also expected to introduce versions of its most popular music player, the iPod Nano, in bright new colors,” the paper reports.