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Disney seen closest to 99-cent iTunes TV rentals

updated 11:05 pm EDT, Tue August 24, 2010

More details of 99c iTunes TV rentals emerge

Apple's ongoing discussions for 99-cent iTunes TV rentals were given support today by a pair of sources Tuesday evening. Anonymous contacts told the WSJ this evening that Disney was the closest to a deal and could agree to allowing some ABC shows soon. It's speculated that Apple chief Steve Jobs' position on Disney's board of directors would be a strong influence on the plan.

News Corp., which publishes the newspaper breaking the story, is also billed as "receptive" to the deal for the Fox network, though there were unspecified but "significant" obstacles to landing a deal. NBC is also talking, but CBS is purportedly resistant to an agreement. It remains the lone holdout from Hulu's free service and may only now be joining Hulu Plus due to its paid system.

Tips to Reuters have corroborated many of the details but clarify that CBS and NBC both believe the TV show rentals would undermine their existing revenues, which give them $2 per episode. The WSJ contacts claimed that Apple is using customer reaction as a strategy; many see the current rates as too expensive, and networks could make up for lower prices by increasing the number of downloads.

Both media outlets were told Apple would provide a 48-hour rental window for any TV show, though the insiders didn't supply more technical details. Apple is thought to be pushing hard for a deal not just for a rumored September 7 media event to introduce the iTV but also before the fall TV season begins the same month.

Regardless of agreements, Apple faces stiff pressure to lower the rates for adopting TV shows. At $10, Hulu Plus would give unlimited access to many current TV shows. Apple's proposed iTunes rental system would potentially be more expensive for frequent viewers, but it would allow a moderate viewer to watch every new episode of two shows for a full month for $8 and would still be more competitive at $12 for three shows.

by MacNN Staff



  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Free without iAd?

    $0.99 per show is too high for every single TV show people watch. But is every single show always going to cost $0.99? What if the same show could be seen with no iAds for $0.99 or with iAds for free?

    Also, some people have mentioned that live sporting events should be streamed instead of downloaded. I wonder if there could also be an "iTunes Live" streaming service for sports, live concerts, etc...

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I don't see much of an advantage to a

    $.99 TV program. Just watching two shows every week for a month would bring the bill up close to $10. In my case, I can easily use my roof-mounted antenna to watch TV for free. In NYC I've got dozens of clear channels to watch.

    It would make more sense to me to watch ad-supported TV shows. I don't mind watching commercials to get free programming. Still, none of the internet solutions will work completely for me. I'm waiting for FiOS triple play (TV/Internet/Phone) in my neighborhood and if I have to pay $100 a month for that I'd be perfectly satisfied.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What if the same show could be seen with no iAds for $0.99 or with iAds for free?

    iAd. Apparently the solution to every media issue out there.....

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What a shocker!

    Disney, run by Steve Jobs, who's also it's biggest stockholder, is seen closest to Apple's next grand experiment in video.

    What I'm waiting for is for Apple's Steve Jobs to write an open letter to the Disney Steve Jobs and the rest of the video folks and explain to them how DRM is stupid and should just be completely dropped. You know, like he did with music.

  1. charlituna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    new info about the rates

    according to a couple of sources it is $1 a month per show. and by show I mean title, not episodes. Now what is not addressed is if it's current season or all seasons. I'm thinking, if this talk is true, it's current season only.

    But even then, I'm thinking it's not that bad of a deal. I have a grandfathered rate of $10 a month for broadcast channel reception from the local cable service and about 12 shows from cable channels that I'm either watching on hulu or waiting for the DVDs. Full cable would run me about $60 a month over $22 a month with this rumored service. And if HBO and Showtime got over themselves and put their stuff right away and not at the same time as the DVDs, I'd add a mere $2 more for 3 months to catch the couple of shows I watch there (over $15 a month for the channels). Sounds okay to me. Especially since I get them ad free, repeats on demand etc.

    Now, the question in my mind is would this also herald the end of Nielsen Media's censorship by sampling. Networks would have viewer numbers and 'added viewer', 'dropped viewer' numbers so I would hope so

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