With a new 4K Apple TV expected to be announced on September 12, Apple is reportedly scrambling to lock down deals on 4K content for the new device, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sources close to the matter say the hangup is on pricing because Apple wants to charge $19.99 for all major titles, which is around what they charge for 1080p movies, while Hollywood studios want to charge $5 to $10 more for higher resolution movies.
Controlling content pricing on their platform is nothing new for Apple. Steve Jobs famously convinced record labels to charge only $0.99 per MP3 track when the iTunes Store first debuted. That was a decision most record labels came to regret because, once the platform took off, they wanted to charge more for new and popular music. It wasn’t until many years later that top tracks increased to $1.29.
It seems as though Hollywood does not want to be locked into a similar pricing model for 4K movies on iTunes. For comparison, digital versions of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 in 4K are currently priced at $29.99 on other platforms, and Wonder Woman is $34.99.
While companies like Netflix and Amazon are focusing far more on all-you-can-watch subscription based 4K content, instead of selling individual titles, Apple does not have a subscription service of their own. They need to be aggressive at offering affordable 4K purchases, or they’ll be left depending solely on 3rd-party subscription services.