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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

CNet explains the reason behind a Macworld report last week that several movies had disappeared from the iTunes Store.
Frequent Macworld contributor Kirk McElhearn noticed something interesting when he went to grab a movie from the iTunes Store. Of the 15 films he had bookmarked for later viewing, an astounding nine were no longer available for purchase. Or rental. Nor, for that matter, did they seem to exist anywhere on the iTunes Store at all.
CNet explains that this is due to licensing agreements between the movie studios and Apple.

Typically, movies have set distribution windows that are followed in order: theaters, DVDs, pay-per-view (and iTunes) and finally, broadcast TV. As movies cross over into broadcast TV distribution, they are being removed from Apple (and Netflix) distribution.
Normally, release windows don't affect retailers or video-rental services after they've begun selling or renting films. Warner Bros. doesn't go into Best Buy and pull DVDs off the shelf when Comcast airs Casablanca. The corner Mom and Pop video store doesn't surrender copies of Gladiator to Universal Studios when the film appears on ABC. But Internet stores are being treated differently. What this means for iTunes and Netflix customers is that movies will pop in and out of the services.
Those who have already purchased these films will, of course, be able to continue to watch them.

Article Link: Movie Availability on iTunes May Be Temporary


macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2008
The back of beyond.
It shows that the TV companies are scared of iTunes. I suppose they need to protect their revenues but it would be nice if some of them embraced downloads and tried to speed things up. Wishful thinking for now.


macrumors 68000
Nov 3, 2004
Toronto, Ontario
So are they saying that essentially there is a 'blackout' period when a movie will be shown on broadcast TV? For example if Gladiator was airing on ABC on Friday, it would be unavailable from Wednesday to Sunday of that week and then will re-appear in the store?
I read the article but I guess was only half paying attention.


Nov 6, 2007
Hence why I either only purchase DVD's or watch whatever is available (that day) for free on HULU.COM. I would be ticked to finally find time to watch a good movie and oops - it is no longer available.:eek:


macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
5045 feet above sea level


macrumors 6502a
Aug 6, 2006
I don't understand the reasoning for this at ALL. So instead of leaving the file up, where it could potentially make more money, they remove it because "it's going to be on TV?"

WTF? Content providers really don't have a clue what the consumer wants anymore...


macrumors 68020
Aug 23, 2004
50.813669°, -2.474796°
Maybe in the UK. There's no limit on our ISP.

Rogers and Bell, respectively Canada's largest cable and dsl providers, BOTH limit usage to within set rates. You go over, you pay more. I use a private DLS provider that offers unlimited use, although ultimately that will change if tier 1 providers penalise resellers accordingly.


macrumors regular
Aug 7, 2005
That makes no sense.

DVDs are still on sale after the movie is broadcast on TV. Why not on iTunes too?

If they want to reduce piracy, they've got a funny way of doing it.


macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
Wherever my feet take me…
The movies are overpriced, especially as we can only download so much without getting charged extra by our ISP.

I agree. I'm w/ Comcast, not sure what my limit is, though.

One thing I don't like about the movies is you're paying as much for the iTunes version as the actual DVD, but only get the movie itself in English (or whatever language your store is) and nothing else. On DVDs, you get subtitles, often in multiple languages, multiple audio languages, audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes stuff & other special features. If we're going to pay the same price for for both, we might as well get all the features. Of course, all those extras would probably add loads to the download time, but some people (like me) like the special features. Maybe let you get just the movie for less & then everything for the same price as the DVD. I'm not sure how the actual DVD/packaging costs compared to the online/bandwidth costs.

That makes no sense.

DVDs are still on sale after the movie is broadcast on TV. Why not on iTunes too?

If they want to reduce piracy, they've got a funny way of doing it.

AppleInsider said:
But for whatever reason, Internet movie stores aren't being treated the same as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. They're instead seen by Hollywood as competitors to television networks and are therefor being treated as entertainment companies. The reason? Money.


macrumors regular
Mar 21, 2008
This doesn't make sense, really. iTunes both rents and sells movies - so a movie should be buy-able in the "DVDs" window, and rentable in the "pay-per-view" window.

And I would think the "DVDs" window would stay open indefinitely, as those who are going to buy an iTunes movie or DVD are a completely different market than renters or TV watchers. Not only do companies not go in and pull current DVDs off the shelves of stores, they KEEP SHIPPING DVDs to stores (and probably keep shipping to rental outfits too).

This is basically them just holding the new "digital revolution/nightmare" on a tight leash so it doesn't get out of their control.

It's amazing that the media industry ever got so homogeneous and inflexible.


macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
I have a solution:

Get rid of TV as we know of it now. Instead, treat the "TV" you have now as nothing other than a mere giant computer monitor. Download the episodes you want to watch using iTunes, Netflix, etc, or pop in a DVD.

I am guessing that the broadcast TV people are also afraid of OnDemand from cable companies.


macrumors 601
Nov 19, 2007
Georgia, USA


macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2004
Around the World
That's weird...

I mean, they remove the movie from theaters, then the movie is on DVDs (but that is not why they remove it from the theaters 'tho), then they keep selling/renting DVDs and make it available on line, then they remove it from on line renting/selling because they make it available to broadcasters but still sell/rent it on DVDs... It seems to me there is no real logic behind this.

Anyway, the same thing happened with songs on iTunes. Some of my bookmarked ones are no longer available in my iTMS...
Either something changed or someone screwed up by putting them there in the first place... ;)


macrumors member
Mar 6, 2006
That makes no sense.

DVDs are still on sale after the movie is broadcast on TV. Why not on iTunes too?

If they want to reduce piracy, they've got a funny way of doing it.

Given the way everything else seems to have gone lately Im surprised this isn't built into the DRM, so even if you had already bought it you were unable to watch it while it was being broadcast somewhere.

What I find really silly is this is stopping the ultimate impulse buy for the video industry. Im watching a movie which Im really enjoying, but I missed the start of it, or can't hang around to send the end of it - best solution - go buy it now online, because you know by the time you get the shops there are other things you should be spending money on.

By the time it is back in the store you will have moved on and it wont be high on your mind anymore.

Instead of taking it out of the store the studio should be buying add space during the broadcast to direct people to the online store to buy the movie now. If the broadcaster is putting pressure on the studio because they are worried it will erode their audience, let the studio push back - how far will the broadcaster get if the studios refuse to give them new content to show? Anybody who already loves the movie would already have the DVD before it is broadcast anyway.


macrumors regular
May 27, 2008
Sacramento CA
yet another example of why the recording and movie industries are ***** retarded.

they treat everyone as if we are criminals and try to control every aspect of the distrubution line ... next thing we wont be able to watch a movie unlesss we change our screen brightness to the minimum level and the contrast to the same - so we don't try to film it on our screen .

when are they going to stop shooting themselves in the foot?


macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2006
For me this really spoils the whole point of movie rentals on iTunes. Rather than buying DVD's, I recently decided that I would rather rent in HD, and if it's a movie I really like I'll happily pay to rent it again in future instead of keeping boxes full of discs.

Now if Apple are removing movies from the iTunes store it spoils my plan - and I'm more likely to just buy it on DVD.

What a ridiculous backwards step.

I did find it strange that Batman Begins seemed to have disappeared when I looked for it yesterday.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2005
i noticed this with the new Die Hard movie. it was even featured in the keynote but now it isn't on iTunes.


macrumors G3
Dec 31, 2004
"No escape from Reality...”

This helps to save the movie rental stores and our local shops that buy/sell new and used DVD's.

I prefer having the physical copy anyways - a DRM'ed copy can easily be "disabled from viewing" if a studio chooses to do so.

(actually, Blu-ray can be also if manufactured as such).


macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2007
That is pretty stupid reasoning. And if/when 1080p online rentals are avaliable i'll stop buying discs most likely. I buy HD DVDs now because the are cheaper than regular dvds and have stocked up on xbox hd dvd players. I also buy the blu ray of movies that I like and will watch multiple times. Unless its something I might watch and is only $10.

As far as capage one of my friends at school got a nice letter from charter saying he needed to quit doing what he was doing. But i think that was because of what he was downloading and not the quantity. I think he started using the neighbors internet after that. I used to late at night too sometimes. I p2p stuff all the time and havn't had a problem. viva de yarrrr


macrumors 68020
Jan 12, 2006
Screw major Labels and Studios

I buy quite a lot of music from independent labels, i.e. talented people that have not yet been "acquired" by some major company and forced to produce mass-marketable junk that's ultimately bad. Those people advertize on youTube and podcasts and you can download or order (i.e. get on physical media) their stuff from their web shop. Best of all: no DRM.

Here's two examples of people I bought everythig from: (

Independent Movie Studios are starting to do this too and I expect them to pup up more and more, especially with things like RED cameras. Stuff gets much cheaper to produce and there's no big company taking all the money (and credit) of the creative guys.

I don't own a TV since 2 years and don't miss it a bit. On the contrary, those things annoy me when I'm at other people's places and they keep it on at all times. I wouldn't mind a large flat screen display, i.e. a TV without tuner, speakers and digital image processors that mangle an otherwise good picture. Where can I get a 42" LCD that does that?
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