With the introduction of the new Apple TV, alongside the new iPad’s introduction last week, we learned that iCloud users would now be able access purchased movies (which also extends to digital copies uploaded from DVDs). The feature was previously limited to music and TV shows. At the time, we unfortunately learned content from Comcast’s Universal and Fox would be blocked from iCloud due to exclusive rights in place through pre-existing deals with HBO. An HBO spokesperson has now confirmed to The Wall Street Journal the company will relax the terms of its deals with the two content providers in order to allow iCloud users to access to their previously purchased content:
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HBO isn’t planning to give up its exclusive windows, for which it pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year… 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.
According to the report, both studios are “near a resolution”, and Fox expects to resolve the issues “within weeks”. The report continued by stating that studios have unsuccessfully attempted to get Apple involved with UltraViolet, a cloud-based iTunes competitor for TV shows and movies that is backed by most major studios apart from Disney. Apple had also apparently offered media companies the chance to license their live and on-demand content to Apple in exchange for a share of ad revenue. Executives described the offer as a “non-starter.”
The report from The Wall Street Journal explained that HBO has exclusive rights in its deals with Universal and Fox to “beam movies to consumers during certain “windows” after each film comes out.” The exclusive window typically lasts for a year beginning approximately six months after the DVD release of a film.