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View Full Version : Movies, Movies, Movies - The Waiting, The Waiting... the waiting!




Cleverboy
Jan 20, 2008, 11:29 AM
LOL. I was getting into a movie-watching mood today. I was busy using my "Watch Instantly" service via Netflix (over VMWare)... but the selection is fairly pathetic (and not likely to improve as far as I know), so I'm finding myself curiously anxious to see iTunes really get a nice store of chock-full of movies. For instance, I just used "Watch Instantly" to view Alfred Hitchcocks' "Dial M for Murder". Almost immediately after, I wanted to watch another Hitchcock film while I worked... but, best I could do was find an Agatha Christie film ("Witness for the Prosecution"). I then went over to iTunes and ran a Hitchcock search. --I got "To Catch a Thief" and nothing more.

I thought, "well, ok..." but then surprisingly realized that the film was only available for "purchase" at $9.99. --Well. No thanks? I then realized I'd like to see "The Namesake" (interesting film with Kal Penn, or non-speaking thug #3 from Superman Returns), which I'd heard good things about. A quick search revealed nothing.

Something bothers me though. I remember with TV shows when they came to iTunes, its been years and we're still getting back-catalog content that pops up every so often. A "Battlestar Galactica" here, a "Wonder Woman" there (and where the blood hell is Steve Austin fighting bigfoot?) :D Maybe next week, a new season of Knight Rider. You look at Windows PC ONLY services like Vongo that regularly rotate their catalog... so you can never be sure when something will no longer be available (unless you're an expert at keeping a rolling series of expiration dates in your head). It sounds like iTunes will be changing that paradigm by stepping back from the monthly subscription, and embracing the per-rental charge model. --Not too bad in my opinion. Pricing could be better, but I'm not that bothered by it.

What I AM bothered by, is the wait. The seemingly never-ending, indeterminate WAIT for movies to make their way to iTunes, and the unknown... which movies will remain off the shelf, which movies have been prioritized for immediate availability? Will some movies be surreptitiously removed from searches at random? I wish someone with Apple's ear could get some real answers on what to expect.

For now, we have to believe Apple is hustling like mad to get movie content onto the service following, no-doubt, last minute negotiations with some of the major studios (you could almost hear the heel dragging, almost as loudly as Cisco and its "iPhone" trademark at last years MacWord... and that just turned out to be a minor slap-fight).

When will we get that Holy Grail? Having some friends over for dinner, games and a movie, you ask then "What Would you like to See?" they say, "What do you have?" and you smile and say, "Name it". You can't get to sleep and you want to finally get around to watching, "Seven Samurai", and within a minute, you are... even though you'd never so much as seen it in the store. --Or, you listen to a Filmspotting Marathon on a topic like "Anime", and you want to watch "Grave of the Fireflies" THAT night.

When will THAT be reasonable... and from the comfort of your own home? Will it take a couple of months? Several? A couple of years? Will it always lack JUST that film you wanted, even though they've got plenty others?

Hopefully Apple gets on the ball and makes it so that searching on iTunes for movies doesn't feel as pointless as it does right now. Hopefully it gets to the point where its "successful hit" average is more like searching on RottenTomatoes or even IMDB. The sooner that happens, the sooner I'll be cancelling my Netflix subscription, and glorifying in the fact that I don't have or need cable. My movie watching needs are modest and not that frequent. But, when I want to watch a film... I'm left still wondering... when will I be able to concentrate more on which film I want to watch... and not where I'll be able to get it from?

Is it next month? Next year?

The wait continues.

~ CB



LizKat
Jan 20, 2008, 03:34 PM
<snip> finding myself curiously anxious to see iTunes really get a nice store of chock-full of movies. <snip> My movie watching needs are modest and not that frequent. But, when I want to watch a film... I'm left still wondering... when will I be able to concentrate more on which film I want to watch... and not where I'll be able to get it from?

Is it next month? Next year?

The wait continues.

~ CB


Your post was really interesting, thank you for it!

I hadn't explored my own reactions to iTunes rentals very much yet, past wondering yah but what if I decide I want to watch it again. You really touched on a lot of my concerns now that I'm getting psyched about being able to rent films from an expanded universe of offerings.

Digital download / stream is the oncoming norm with music and film, so it really is pretty frustrating to sit through an extended period when the studios or labels and copyright owners are standing in the way of their own revenue streams. This is true especially when it starts looking like they are trying to find business models that will make up revenues lost while they messed up in the past few years. (Sometimes you gotta shrug and say ok that's history, so how can we just keep tomorrow's piece of our road forward from caving in?)

Meanwhile, customers who want to see stuff from the 1940s or 1980s as well as people trying to catch up with 2007 movies are rolling their eyes at all these brawls amongst digital providers, rightsholders, lawyers, advocacy groups, technopundits...

Me, I'm thinking JEEZ TAKE IT OUTSIDE WHY DONTCHA.

It all reminds me of a time when I went up to feed a bro's dogs while he and his wife were away. The older dog, the one that knew me better, wasn't right there on the scene when I arrived. He was off trying to get a rabbit out of a culvert. The younger dog wasn't sure about my intentions, so he was being a real watchdog. He was IN the shed, standing between me and the ashcan full of dog kibble, and barking at me.

So I'm there with his empty bowl in my hand, showing him hey look, i'm gonna put your food in it if you just move outta my way, and the pup is trying to get around behind me and cut me a new set of pockets, but he still doesn't want to leave the ashcan full of food unguarded... he's literally doing a dance with his own worst fears. And, it's a standoff until I remember that I have some dog biscuits in my pocket.

I figure our $4 rentals are the biscuits and I hope iTunes has succeeded in persuading the studios to stop standing in the way of everyone making some money off the back catalog as well as their newer releases.

See the studios and iTunes could cooperate in hiring and overseeing about five thousand temps and get the whole back catalog up there in two months along with a nice chunk of newer stuff every three weeks. Everyone would make billions of bucks until the lawsuits start flying again. At least everybody's figures for a quarter or two would look great!

I won't even take my usual fee for temporarily fixing intractable problems :p