It’s not just music downloads where iTunes is struggling. According to a new report, Apple’s share of the digital home video movie market has also been falling precariously in recent years — largely thanks to the rise of companies like Comcast, Amazon Video and Netflix.
From a high of over 50 percent in 2012, market share has now fallen to between 20-35 percent, with various Hollywood studios reporting a decline in iTunes’ leadership position.
Because no third parties track market share in digital movies, it’s difficult to secure exact figures, but an Apple spokesperson who spoke with the Wall Street Journal didn’t dispute the market share estimates. They did, however, point out that movie rentals and purchases increased over the past year, reaching their highest levels in more than a decade.
The problem? That while more people are downloading movies from iTunes, Apple isn’t keeping pace with other services operating in this area. Last year, total U.S. digital movie sales and rentals rose a total of 12 percent to $5.3 billion, as per PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Not too surprising
For anyone who uses iTunes, the news is hardly likely to be surprising. The rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video have echoed the rise of streaming music services like Spotify, which have been shown to have a big impact on the traditional iTunes download model.
Apple’s Apple TV efforts have also lagged behind rivals like Comcast, which rents and sells movies through its set-top box. Comcast hasn’t yet reached Apple’s market share in the digital video market, but it is on an upwards trajectory that’s cutting into Apple’s customer base.
While Apple has launched Apple Music to compete with Spotify, it has yet to put together a cohesive strategy for taking on the likes of Netflix. Although it has dipped its toe into the water to test out original content, so far most of this has been short-form music-related content to help sell Apple Music, rather than a serious effort to appeal to movie fans.
Two promising developments involve iTunes’ offering of independent movies, and possible plans to be able to offer video-on-demand while movies are still showing in theaters — although these negotiations are still in very early stages.
How often do you buy or rent movies on iTunes? What changes (if any) do you think Apple needs to make in this area? Leave your comments below.
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