Mon 15 Dec, 2008 02:25 pm
TV has license to kill movies at iTunes, Netflix
December 9, 2008 | CNet
Apple is an Internet retailer and Netflix is a Web video rental service, but Hollywood treats them as if they are potential competitors to TV broadcasters.
In the past two weeks, customers of iTunes and Netflix's streaming digital-movie service have noticed that a growing number of titles are disappearing from the sites or are scheduled to be removed. [..]
What has happened is Apple and Netflix have crashed into windows. "Release windows" is the term used to describe periods of time a certain type of media is allowed to show a movie. Typically, a feature film is first released in theaters, then on DVD, followed by pay-per-view channels and finally on broadcast TV.
Normally, release windows don't affect retailers or video-rental services [..]. Warner Bros. doesn't go into Best Buy and pull DVDs off the shelf when Comcast airs Casablanca. [..] But Internet stores are being treated differently. [..]
The big question many Apple and Netflix fans will have is why are Web stores being treated as though they are entertainment companies instead of merchants?
The answer, of course, is because broadcasters say they are.