HBO Confirms Negotiations to Allow Fox and Universal to Participate in iCloud for Movies
Last week, we noted with the launch of the new Apple TV and iTunes in the Cloud for movies that Fox and Universal were not participating in the iCloud video streaming due to contractual obligations with HBO. At the time CNET indicated that the issue was a temporary one and that HBO and the affected studios would be working to address the holdup in the near future.
The Wall Street Journal now reports that HBO is indeed working with Fox and Universal to loosen its restrictions on film distribution, with a spokesperson for HBO confirming the negotiations.
HBO isn't planning to give up its exclusive windows, for which it pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and which allow it to beam movies to its online service HBO Go as well as to its traditional TV channels. But HBO is relaxing terms to let users of iCloud and other services send movies they already own to other devices during those windows, an HBO spokesman said.
HBO agreed to loosen its arrangement with Warner Bros., which is working with iCloud, and also is in talks with Universal and Fox to do the same, the spokesman added.
Sources at Fox suggest that the roadblock on iCloud will be lifted "as soon as within weeks", while Universal sources also indicate that a resolution is near.
Top Rated Comments
I up-voted you for being the only person who read this announcement right. -100 to anyone who thinks this is about streaming HBO content.
This is basically about HBO not letting a contractual technicality stand in the way of something that doesn't impact their business. Kudos to HBO for not being a bunch of d1##heads; other than that it is nothing amazing.
This isn't about adding in HBO content to iTunes the day after it airs on HBO's channels. It is simply HBO allowing you to redownload films you've already purchased before their exclusive window goes into effect. In fact, it really has nothing to do with accessing HBO's first party IP.
I agree, but as I said before, I think this is an unintended consequence of a contract written before one could anticipate this issue.
And since Apple doesn't pre announce, who knows how long HBO had to move on this.
I think it's a lot of people's knee jerk reaction to get angry at stuff like this, because we (the end users) have been burned so many times by cable companies and the ilk. This seems like a rare case where everybody wins.
If you look at "Movies in the Cloud" service (found under "Purchased" on Apple TV and iTunes Store) some movies can be re-downloadded (new feature since March 7, 2012), but other movies in your iTunes collection do not appear. The missing ones are likely from those studios who are blocked by their agreement with HBO.
The feature you are asking for would be awesome (iTunes Match for DVD and Blu-Ray movies), but I don't think we will see that until we see Apple's supposedly "revolutionary new television". Incidentally, I think the movie industry is working on what looks to be an ill-fated project called "Ultra-Violet" for essentially converting your DVD/Blu-Ray collection into a streaming collection. If you're like me, you want streaming and re-download for convenience but you also want your movies on your own hard drive where you personally can guarantee access to them.
UPDATE: According to the UltraViolet FAQ (http://uvdemystified.com/uvfaq.html#1.1), UV allows for both "download" and "streaming". So this may be a good thing if it ever takes off since it will allow playing of your movies on any device.