3 Replies Latest reply: Jul 15, 2013 5:13 PM by redrobinred
redrobinred Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

One of my favorite features of the Apple TV has always been the ability to rent nearly any movie ever shown in a movie theater.

 

I've noticed in the past 45 days that the amount of content available specifically for rental has markedly decreased.  Also, the number of items which indicate "Available For Rental [Date]" is lower, in fact I haven't seen that 'button' in a long time..  For example, several months ago when the movie "Ted" was first made available for rental, I chose to put that movie off until I would be in a mood where I could really use a comedy to lift my spirits.

 

Today, when I decided a comedy was in order, I went to my trusty Apple TV and searched for "Ted". The movie is still available, but not for rental anymore, it is only available for purchase for the whopping price tag of $14.99 -- way too much to risk on a movie I don't even know if I'll like.

 

As a second example, "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" was a movie I had rented a few months ago and quite enjoyed, but not so much that I wanted to own it.  The other night a friend and I were talking about set-top boxes like the AppleTV and I was telling her how much I love it. We were also trying to think of a good movie to watch and I asked if she had seen "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen", when she said she hadn't, I offered that as a really good movie she might like and that I wouldn't mind watching again.  I went to rent the movie, and it was no longer available for rental, only for purchase. When I went ahead and decided to purchase the movie -- and this felt like adding insult to injury -- I was prompted with "You've already rented this item, are you sure you wish to purchase it?"  So, not only could I not rent it again, but that fact was going to be wagged in my face in front of a friend who I was trying to convince to buy an AppleTV because they're so awesome.

 

I'm sure this has something to do with a contract somewhere, but I'd really like to know more details so that I can better understand how much this change in the contracts Apple keeps with it's partners will affect my overall experience of the Apple TV and the services it provides.  Is this likely to be a permanent change? If so, I will likely begin to look for another set-top box provided by a company who has more of an investment in keeping contracts with partners that provide the kinds of services I enjoy. I don't want to continue using a service that only allows me to purchase movies after a short 'available for rental' period,


Apple TV
  • M.Kathy HIll Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Good point.  I'm also finding that when a movie comes out, it's available to purchase but not available to rent for a couple of weeks.  Do you think Apple is reading these discussions?  Several months ago I cut off cable because it was getting to expensive.  My only recourse is Apple TV and antenna.  But sometimes it's somewhat vexing to find that you have to wait. 

  • redrobinred Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It *is* vexing. That's a perfect word for it. Just to add to the vexation, I just went onto a 'competitors' website (if they can be called such a thing) at Redbox and "Ted" is available for rental there for $1.29, but its raining and the whole point of buying and using the Apple TV for rentals was so that when it's raining, or I am sick, or on an impulse with friends we all want to sit down right now and watch a flick, or just don't want to leave the house -- situations in which I'll gladly pay a FEW extra bucks for the convenience of not having to get in my car, drive to the kiosk, get the disk, drive home AND remember (rather forget) to take the movie back the next day and therefore get charged an additional fee.  I mean, if it's the "additional fee for discs kept longer than a day" business the movie companies wish to get into, why not just insist on Apple changing its rules to include an action to "return" the movie once we're finished watching it?

    Grrrr. Frustrated.

     

    I don't know if Apple watches these discussions. I would hope so, but I'm sure they're not obligated to.  Having been a Global Technical Product Manager for a product with a customer base likely sized similarly to the Apple TV at one time, I'll say that the Product Manager (or equivalent position) probably keeps an eye on the goings on in the community, but they are most likely strapped from doing anything with regards to this type of issue on their own, they have to work with lots of moving parts, the product managers and partnership managers from other groups and other products, and even those product managers most likely don't have just a lot of control over the actual content that ends up for rental in the store.

     

    If members of the product team watch this type of discussion, they also are more than likely limited in what they're allowed to disclose relative to contract changes and the like, as many of those contract changes materially affect the stock prices of the companies who are party to those contracts.  So I guess, in the end, the most I can hope for is "When it comes time to negotiate the contract again, please count me in for one vote of 'Could we go back to significantly more content available for rental, please?" And possibly a response from Product Management that said "Noted, thanks for your input." If *anybody* cares, I know Apple cares, they go to the carpet for their users and customers all the time.

  • redrobinred Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    -- if only I could get myself to write this much on a novel or a blog every day, I'd likely be rich enough not to need to worry about "rental" vs. "purchase". ;-)