Apple and Netflix are competitors in the online movie rental business, but one analyst is suggesting that instead of competing, Apple should buy its rival.
Brian Marshall, an analyst with Gleacher & Co., suggested in a note to clients yesterday that Apple's iTunes movie and TV rental business is only about one-tenth the size of Netflix. He estimated that Apple rents approximately 475,000 TV shows and movies every day, while Netflix rents about 5.1 million DVDs and pieces of streaming media per day, according to Computerworld.
Looking at the cash side of the business, Marshall estimated that Apple is pulling in about $60 million in rentals and another $50 million in purchases per quarter. Netflix, by comparison, generates about $550 million a quarter.
"If Apple can grow its rental business similarly to Netflix's historical profile, it's feasible iTunes' annual rental revenue could exceed $1 billion by 2015," said Marshall.
Trying to grow as quickly as Netflix has over the years is one approach, but Marshall sees another way for Apple to boost its rental business--buy Netflix.
"What I'd like to see is Apple buying Netflix," said Marshall. "Netflix has approximately 150,000 titles, while Apple has just 15,000. Apple has a tremendous opportunity."
Apple revamped its Apple TV offering earlier this year, giving users the ability to rent movies and TV shows from iTunes and watch on their televisions. It also added support for Netflix to let people rent from Apple or log in to their Netflix account and watch movies or television shows using that service.