Apple fighting Hollywood to cap 4K movie prices at $19.99

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.

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9 comments
  1. Craig says:

    Hollow-weird can charge what they want, but I’m not paying $30/4K movie. Not happening. They’re lucky that I even give em $20.00/1080p via Vudu, let alone $30. Believe me? They’re rarely producing quality movies enough these days to justify a $30/pop price tag. They shouldn’t even be trying to gouge ya for resolution/bit-rate differences to begin with.

    • Dave says:

      Sadly, you don’t know what you are missing. It’s not so much the 4K resolution, but rather the HDR. Trust me, once you see it for the first time on a high-end TV, you’ll never want a 1080p blu ray again. It’s kind of like when we transitioned from dial-up modems to cable modems or when we transitioned from dumb phones to smart phones. It’s that huge of a difference. Don’t believe me? Go watch Planet Earth II in HDR and you’ll understand. You wouldn’t ever want to go back to AOL or bag phones would you??? Yeah, it costs more money, but the ends most definitely justifies the means.

    • AR says:

      great so now instead seeing a steaming pile of crap in HD i can see it UHD with HDR and dolby vision
      (((hollywood))) should just be grateful that anyone still pays to see the crap they are churning out these days at all
      let’s all just hope their greed hastens their fade into total irrelevance

      also they should have been offering consumers discounts on media for those who paid to see the movie at the box office
      ticket stubs should have been coupons for at least 50% off when buying physical or digital media

  2. tech3475 says:

    Right now higher prices and the DRM are why I’m hesitant to invest in 4K content.

    If they can at least solve one of these issues, I may be more willing to buy 4K content.

  3. Fjtorres says:

    This fight has nothing to do with the value of the content.
    Apple just wants the lower prices to be able to catch up in 4K video because they are, yet again, late to the party and need something to sell themselves against Amazon, Sony, Microsoft,Vudu, Youtube, Netflix, etc who have all been selling 4K hardware and services for a couple of years.

    And, of course, Apple wants the studios to charge them less because they don’t want to eat the price differential.

    Just business as usual.

  4. Rick says:

    4K is just now catching on. Apple is entering at just the right time, allowing things to mature. This approach allows them to offer the superior user experience that apple fans expect.

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