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Apple to offer 99 cent TV episode rentals?

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010
News Categories: Apple, iTunes, Apple TV

Apple is in talks with Fox parent News Corp., along with other media companies, to offer 99 cent TV episode rentals through iTunes. Bloomberg, citing three people familiar with the plan, reports that users would have a 48 hour rental window, and that Disney and CBS are also part of the discussions. “This is a smart move by everyone,” said David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in New York. “Something like this a la carte rental service is an incremental opportunity and it doesn’t upset the existing ecosystem.” The report goes on to reiterate prior reports of a next-generation Apple TV, with a smaller hard drive than prior models that will be priced at $99 and tied into the rental service.

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Comments

1

NO, NO, NO, NO!  I hope this is all wrong.  Not the way to go!  Lower the prices of television shows… step one.  Some sort of monthly fee for access to all of iTunes television collection.  It is getting to be a joke of paying two dollars for 22 minutes of a television show.  Time to break up the CABLE industry with something new! Please Steve… don’t let us down!

Posted by Eric Hofstetter on August 24, 2010 at 1:57 PM (PDT)

2

Apple just doesn’t understand television, be it hardware (alas, poor aTV) or content in iTunes. On the latter, pricing is their Achilles’ Heel. Bad enough that a “Season Pass” for a series costs more than the comparable Blu-Ray set, at a lower screen resolution. Worse is this rental nonsense, which also fails to be competitive. Consider Season 6 of “The Office:” at $0.99/episode, an entire season to *rent* costs almost $26. Compare that with $36 to *purchase* this entire season on Blu-Ray. Didn’t anybody at the iTunes Store take High School math?

Posted by Farnsworth on August 24, 2010 at 7:14 PM (PDT)

3

@Farnsworth

You fail to understand that Apple is not in control here.  The TV/Movie industry is not broken like music was.  Without industry support, what else can they do?  Steve Jobs has already acknowledged this problem.  The only way to get this right is to start from scratch and have everybody involved which is NOT going to happen any time soon.  We all want content that is inexpensive but we are dealing with copyrighted material here and the networks and studios have the upper hand.  SJ is powerful but NOT THAT powerful.

Posted by Mister G on August 25, 2010 at 10:59 AM (PDT)

4

#3: If Apple can’t offer content at a competitive price then maybe they shouldn’t bother. If my local gas station sells gas for $2/gallon, and my provider of gasoline won’t let me go below $3/gallon, why would I open a new station in the first place? I don’t think an Apple Logo on the pumps would make a difference.

Posted by Farnsworth on August 25, 2010 at 11:43 AM (PDT)

5

@Farnsworth

I think they have no choice but to put something out there and stake some claim in the “TV area”.  They already established the ATV as their “hobby” and now, Google is getting ready to compete in this area as well.  Also, if this new “iTV” hardware will run iOS and have access to the App Store, that could be the bigger selling point rather than the 99 cent rentals.  I don’t know, who knows what’s going on behind the scenes.  I’m really rootin’ for Apple to get jump-started in this area again.  I have an Apple TV and use it mainly for showing off my photos and streaming my music to the living room.  I’m happy with it but wish it could do so much more.

Posted by Mister G on August 25, 2010 at 1:51 PM (PDT)

6

@Farnsworth

“If Apple can’t offer content at a competitive price then maybe they shouldn’t bother”

I disagree.  For Apple to offer an “alternative” like buying shows or episodes @ .99 a pop, which I can play on any of my iDevices, or better: offer it unencumbered with DRM is worth paying for.  Yes, I realize there are people who rent and rip DVDs through NetFlix; my time is valuable to me and I’d rather buy it off of iTunes without the hassles. 99-cent videos (seasons often cost less) is a steal!

Posted by Don Funk on August 25, 2010 at 7:20 PM (PDT)

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