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Digital Viewing Habits: Renting Vs. Buying in the iTunes Movie Store

Digital Viewing Habits: Renting Vs. Buying in the iTunes Movie Store

There I was, as I do from time to time, checking out the iTunes Movie Store to see what was new and see what was popular… And, then, I saw something kinda remarkable: the disparity between which movies are the Top Rentals compared to which movies are the Top Sales. The Top 10 titles, as of Tuesday morning this week, featured only one overlap: a children’s movie called Another Cinderella Story. The rest, completely different. The number one iTunes Movie purchase is Iron Man, however the mega-blockbuster is not even on the iTunes movie rental chart. How could that be? Because most of the newer releases are not available for rental on iTunes. Very few Hollywood titles go for the day-and-date approach. While this lasts, many indie titles are getting an extra boost of opportunity in the iTunes Rental arena.

Within the Top 40 rentals, a box office disappointment like Picturehouse’s Run, Fatboy, Run can place #2 and Magnolia’s medium-sized caper Flawless can follow closely at #3. Miramax didn’t deliver Juno ticket sales with the Ellen Page comedy, Smart People, but the film is currently the #7 most-rented iTunes Movie. Keep going down the list, and you have more independent features ranking high, including: the Brittany Murphy comedy Love and Other Disasters (#8), Stacy Peralta’s six-year-old documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys (#10), the Ed Burns iTunes premiere Purple Violets (#30), Helen Hunt’s directorial debut Then She Found Me (#32), and Gary Hustwist’s design documentary Helvetica (#36). Not bad, considering Hollywood new releases like Doomsday and College Road Trip are ranked much, much lower. Maybe this will change once all new releases become available for purchase and rental on the same day. For now, the indies have a chance to make a good impression.

Interesting side note on current iTunes Movie trends: several Paul Newman titles have surged into the Top 100.

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