HBO Adjusting Exclusivity Agreements to Allow for iCloud Syncing
By now, we’ve all become accustomed to the movie industry’s efforts to continue to enforce traditional release windows and exclusivity deals. One of the vagaries of these deals often comes up in relation to streaming and digital distribution systems, where movies can seem to arrive later than one would expect or can come and go, seemingly at random. One of the most common reasons for these situations relate to the deals that movie studios sign with networks that give the networks exclusive distribution windows. This is particularly true for HBO, whose deals with movie studios give HBO almost complete distribution control over non-physical formats. This has been an impediment to digital locker systems in the past because HBO’s exclusive control meant that the movie might not always be available for streaming or extended access. With Apple bringing movie syncing to iCloud, HBO has agreed to adjust their deals so that movie studios can allow for movies to be synced to Apple’s cloud. It does not mean that HBO is giving up its exclusivity windows, only that consumers who have purchased a movie will still be able to access the movie from iCloud. At this point, all of the discussion seems to involve iCloud, but we can probably look forward to more services coming online that require similar agreements.
HBO is working on loosening its grip on movie studios in order to allow them to offer their films to sync across Apple’s iCloud, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed. This means that, eventually, films from Universal and Fox may soon enjoy the same iCloud syncing as films from Lions Gate, Sony Pictures, Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros.