Most of Tinseltown won't buy into the Apple chief's digital vision
until he ponies up more money and gets more serious about protecting
by Ronald Grover
By all accounts, Steve Jobs gave a socko performance, delivered with
his usual charm and controversial style, Jan. 9 at Apple's (AAPL)
annual Macworld gathering. Apple TV, which Jobs says has licked the
problem of linking your TV to content downloaded from the Internet,
was introduced as thousands cheered in San Francisco's Moscone
Center. Among the faithful were some tech companies, Walt Disney Co.
(DIS) Chief Executive Robert Iger, and a smattering of TV executives.
Most of the rest of Hollywood was conspicuously absent. Only four
months back, when Iger announced that Jack Sparrow and the rest of
Disney's movie characters could be downloaded to Apple's video iPod,
it looked like Jobs was on his way toward taming the beast called
Hollywood. A prototype of Apple TV, then code-named iTV, would soon
link to the iPod and ship movies from Steve's world to our TVs-or so
the whiskered one led us to believe.
But no other Hollywood studio has yet joined Disney in giving Jobs
their most precious commodity: new-to-the-home-market movies, which
continue to be the studios' hottest sellers in the still-robust
$32-billion-a-year DVD market. To be fair, Jobs & Co. did manage to
lure a second studio, when Paramount Pictures announced it was
joining the iPod brigade. The Viacom (VIA) unit, eager to overcome
its image as a digital Neanderthal, said it would license to Apple
100 or so of its older movies. You want Breakfast at Tiffany's and
Mean Girls, you can get them. But try to get Dreamgirls when it comes
out on video in a few months, or Shrek 3, which Paramount will
release this summer for DreamWorks Animation (DWA).