WSJ: HBO to relax its exclusive video licensing and help bring more movies to Apple’s iCloud

WSJ: HBO to relax its exclusive video licensing and help bring more movies to Apple’s iCloud

Apple’s iCloud service could soon welcome more movie content after Time Warner-owned paid television network HBO said it is in talks with studios to loosen its licensing terms for exclusive video content, the Wall Street Journal reports.

HBO, which pays millions of dollars to exclusively broadcast movies during certain ‘windows’ after they are released, had previously stopped studios from offering content to subscription and digital marketplaces, including Apple’s ‘watch anywhere’ iCloud service.

Simply put, if a studio sent certain pre-licensed videos to an iCloud customer, it would violate HBO’s exclusive rights.

However, an HBO spokesperson has told the WSJ that the company will be “relaxing terms to let users of iCloud and other services send movies they already own to other devices during those windows.”

At last week’s iPad keynote, Apple announced that it had opened its iCloud platform to allow customers to sync movie and TV show purchases between Apple devices. However, it was unable to reach a deal with Universal Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, meaning some studio content could not be synced between Apple devices.

HBO doesn’t plan to do away with its exclusive windows but it has already relaxed licensing for Warner Bros. and is in talks to do the same for Universal and Fox.

The licensing deal is the latest in a long line of traditional agreements that have been amended to cater for the expanding digital market. Apple led the charge in pushing the move to digital music sales and the company hopes to do the same with TV shows and movies.

Rumours have suggested the Cupertino-based technology giant is looking to launch its own video subscription service, but reports remain speculative at best.

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