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Apple Uncharacteristically Fights Higher Prices For 4K Hollywood Movies In New Apple TV

by on August 29, 2017

Stephan Jukic – August 29, 2017

Apple is not exactly a company most consumers would consider a go-to choice for more affordable tech product and service choices but in the case of creating a roster of ultra HD movie titles for its upcoming 4K Apple TV service, it seems that that’s exactly what Apple is aiming for. The catch however is apparently that major studios are opposing the company’s pricing plans for the movies in iTunes.

At least this is what we’re hearing from the latest report on this issue. According to reporting from the Wall Street Journal, Apple is working to sell 4K UHD movie titles for roughly $20 but the major studios which would be helping the Cupertino tech giant deliver the content want a steeper price than that, one that’s more in line with that competing streaming service providers like Google and Amazon charge at between $25 and $30 per title purchase. Specifically, a starting price of at least $25 per movie is what is being pushed on Apple. Apple already charges about $20 for 1080p movie releases in its so far HD-only iTunes selections so the idea of $25 to $30 per 4K title doesn’t seem too unreasonable at first glance. On the other hand though, not all of the relevant studios are insisting on the price hike: According to comments to the WSJ from an executive at one unnamed studio, higher prices for 4K titles wasn’t something they were requesting from Apple. Yet another anonymous executive also pointed out that pushing 4K UHD titles would be tough in a market where $12 monthly subscriptions to Netflix allow for unlimited access to available 4K titles

Amazon itself, along with Netflix are both expected to also provide titles on Apple’s new 4K TV version when it comes out. Netflix is already available on the existing 1080p 5th generation version of the Apple device but Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service is expected to reach the Apple platform later in 2017, probably after the 4K UHD model’s claimed release date of September 12th.

Apple TV 4K

Possibly the most amusing thing about these reports of a dispute between Apple and the studios on 4K content pricing is the fact that Apple is the one fighting for lower, more consumer-friendly pricing. That’s definitely not Apple’s style and the company is more than known for selling some of the priciest tech products around and designing them in ways that nearly obligate consumers to spend even more within Apple’s own product ecosystem if they want diverse functionality. Even in the case of the current 5th Gen Apple TV we see a price structure that doesn’t reflect competitive reality. The device retails for between $150 and $199 per unit despite being out-of date practically since the day of its late 2015 release. Competing set-top streaming media boxes like the old 4K-capable Roku TV box that came out at roughly the same time as the latest Apple TV and much newer streaming devices like the Roku Ultra and Google Chromecast Ultra both offer more features, better content options, full UHD content and playback support and also include HDR integration for playback on 4K HDR televisions while all costing much less than their outdated Apple counterpart gadget.

That said, we certainly hope that Apple can use its immense tech market clout to win this particular battle with studios. One thing that most people can certainly agree on is this: Even if Apple has a tendency to sometimes squeeze wallets on pricing, Hollywood studios are even less saintly on how they try to squeeze customers wherever possible.

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  • Jason
    September 3, 2017 at 9:09 am

    This isn’t exactly a new thing for Apple when it comes to digital media sales. Remember the discussions when the iTunes Store was starting up? The idea of 99¢ song downloads wasn’t exactly a big hit with a lot of labels and studios.


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