Apple pulled the trigger on the DVD industry today, announcing that movies will now be available on its iTunes Store on the same day they’re offered on DVD. Lining up for the deal are majors such as 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Lionsgate. In its press release, Apple said there are 200 HD movies on iTunes, but didn’t indicate whether these newest titles would be available for download in HD.
This changes the landscape for movie downloading, putting the service on the same footing and timing as immensely profitable DVD sales. And think of this from the perspective of the studios: Wouldn’t you rather sell your content where one copy on a hard drive can crank out $14.99 for each sale among millions, rather than printing all those DVDs, putting them in cases and packaging them with expensive cover art, and then paying to ship them all over the world? Expect many more download services to follow suit soon.