The iTunes Store claims to be the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over six million songs, 600 TV shows and over 1,500 films including 200 in high definition video.
"We're thrilled to bring iTunes Store customers new films for purchase day-and-date with the DVD release," Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes, said. "We think movie fans will love being able to buy their favorites from major and independent studios."
Participating studios include 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, Image Entertainment and First Look Studios.
The idea isn't a new one, however, as simultaneous VOD and DVD release dates have already been adopted by the adult entertainment industry.
According to Internet retailer GameLink.com, the iTunes move is yet another instance of mainstream media following adult industry innovations, such as credit card processing, content personalization, and most notably, video-on-demand.
"This just goes to show that mainstream e-commerce companies have taken another page for our book," Jeff Dillon, business development director of the adult Internet retailer, GameLink.com, said. "We at GameLink.com pioneered the day-and-date DVD release strategy with some of the major adult studios and have proven that releasing a movie on Video-on-Demand the same day as DVD does not eat into profits – it actually increases profits, and in many cases it doubles profit."
GameLink.com began providing films for VOD purchase day-and-date with the DVD release in May 2007, initially offering movies from the major adult studio Vivid, and then quickly expanding to include Club Jenna, Teravision and Digital Playground.
According to Apple, movie purchases and rentals are available for Mac or Windows users running the latest version of the free iTunes software and having a valid credit card with a billing address in the country of purchase – although the company also states that iTunes Movies are only available in the US.
The cost of movies varies from $9.99 for library title purchases to $14.99 for new release title purchases, with standard definition rentals priced at $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new release rentals. High definition rentals are available for a dollar over the standard definition pricing, while short films are available to rent for 99 cents each.
All iTunes Movies require either an iPod classic, iPod nano with video, iPod touch, or iPhone and can also be played on a widescreen TV using Apple TV.