iTunes Subscriptions? Start with VideoShare
We’ve all heard the cries for iTunes to introduce subscription music. Along with the Beatles catalog it’s become a basic ingredient of every pre-event rumor.
Murphy’s not interested in subscription music. Still – companies turning off their DRM-servers doesn’t instill faith in the current model. I’m happy buying music I’ll listen to for the rest of my life. A video that I’ll watch a handful of times? Not so interested. I don’t want to buy it, I don’t want to store it.
Subscription video – that’s another story. Subscription rentals line up perfectly with the strengths of the iTunes model, and could steal customers away from Netflix.
What about the studios – will they play along? They should. Right now they’re letting Netflix send out DVDs that any eleven year old can copy to their iPhone (and their friend’s iPhone) with minimal effort. I’d venture more users would happily rip a DVD than those that would attempt to break iTunes DRM.
It shines a light on Hollywood’s fear and misunderstanding of digital distribution. Only obscure content is available for streaming from Netflix, via the Roku box or a PC. Almost nothing in Murphy’s queue can be viewed immediately. But I can get new releases on DVD, and if I were so inclined I could copy them with Handbrake. Easily.
More on Netflix: They’ve got an all-you-can-eat model that iTunes could easily replicate. Apple could twist it in a few different directions. For example, my biggest problem with Netflix is the US Mail lag. I learned early to make sure I mail a disk back on Thursday so I’ll have something for the weekend. iTunes can dance around the mail. If Apple wants to offer all-you-can-eat their DRM makes it simple: They could require you to delete your current rental before downloading another.
Or they could place a limit on your subscription, one download per day, fifteen per month, whatever they agree on with the studios. If you’ve ever seen the control iTunes exerts over a rental with regard to your computer, iPhone, and Apple TV you’ll know they can do whatever they want to limit your access. There are all kind of creative caps, it just needs to be negotiated.
Comparing an iTunes subscription to Netflix is interesting. No wondering if your letter carrier is bringing a red envelope. No planning in advance. Nothing to send back.
Television shows should be included in the model, something not suited for the current iTunes model. Netflix includes television shows in its subscription service, iTunes should too.
Netflix has already built the model and conditioned customers. Apple already has the required pieces in place: iTMS, Apple TV, iPods and iPhone. iTunes can take a good service and make it better. They need a new deal with the studios, and access to a much larger library. But it’s easily within reach.iPod touch - $219 - Amazon | Permalink