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It seems like for every new Apple rumor, there has to be an equalizing force in the universe that comes along to smack it down. Such is the case with last week’s “iTunes Replay” speculation claiming that Apple was about to introduce its own cloud-based competitor to Netflix.
CNet News is debunking reports last week that Apple is poised to introduced something dubbed “iTunes Replay,” a cloud-based service for movies that many believe will be Cupertino’s answer to Netflix. The problem is, the company has yet to procure agreements with “at least four of the top six film studios,” and sources are throwing cold water on the idea that a launch may be imminent.
“One reason is the HBO window,” explains Greg Sandoval. “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.”
Fair enough, but what about reports that Apple may be poised to take on Netflix with an “all you can eat” subscription service?
“While Apple has discussed different video-on-demand deals with the studios, there's no truth to another rumor that floated around last week about agreements Apple had in place to create a subscription film service to rival Netflix,” the CNet News report concludes, citing “industry insiders.”
Despite this bit of negative news, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is bullish on cloud distribution, and the parent company of HBO appears committed to “getting a deal done.” Apple is apparently also “close to a final agreement with at least one of the studios that would allow it to sell streaming rights during the HBO window” -- although that deal was expected by mid-summer, which has already come and gone.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter