Apple preparing 99 cent TV show rentals

Suspected earlier this year by some, Apple appears to be in the process of creating a process where iTunes customers may rent TV shows for 99 cents.

Three people familiar with the plan, according to Bloomberg say that Apple is talking with News Corp about allowing rentals of shows from their Fox channel. These rentals would be good for 48 hours and would be available within 24 hours of the air date. The same sources also say that CBS Corp. and Walt Disney Co. are in much similar talks with Apple about rentals as well. Steve Jobs, Apple's Chief Executive officer, is a major Disney board member and since Disney purchased Pixar Animation Studios, that also made Jobs the largest shareholder.

This plan is thought to work very similar to how the movie rentals on iTunes work, where you rent for a low fee and then have a time-frame in which you are allowed to watch the movie. The television show rentals will also be commercial-free, so it will work just like any other downloadable video in the iTunes store. 

Adding a rental option would help Apple take back some lost ground that Netflix and Amazon.com have taken with their services. Netflix offers a movie and TV show subscription service that is accessible on multiple devices for live streaming, or DVDs and Blu-Ray discs can be put onto a wish list for them to send out to your place of residence. Netflix doesn't always have the latest TV shows up for streaming as they focus more on the entire season packs. Amazon.com offers an easy to use On-Demand video service where you can choose to stream the TV show or Movie, or you have the option to download it up to a few devices. Amazon.com, unlike Netflix, will have the latest episodes of shows, although there is no subscription model like Netflix so the user will have to purchase each episode or buy a season pass.

Apple is planning to hold an event in San Francisco on September 7th to reveal the service, new products, and to get the word out before the prime-time TV season begins.

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42 Comments

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Has anyone who has commented on this thread thought about a DVR or TiVo. Come on why are you even thinking of paying for a TV show that you can record and watch later if you know you are going to miss said show. Also with these two devices you have the ability to cut through the commercials. Get real and get a DVR/TiVo and kill two birds with one stone.

Pam14160 said,
Has anyone who has commented on this thread thought about a DVR or TiVo. Come on why are you even thinking of paying for a TV show that you can record and watch later if you know you are going to miss said show. Also with these two devices you have the ability to cut through the commercials. Get real and get a DVR/TiVo and kill two birds with one stone.

Did you read the comments? Hardly anyone thinks this is worth paying for.

Pam14160 said,
Has anyone who has commented on this thread thought about a DVR or TiVo. Come on why are you even thinking of paying for a TV show that you can record and watch later if you know you are going to miss said show. Also with these two devices you have the ability to cut through the commercials. Get real and get a DVR/TiVo and kill two birds with one stone.

Don't have cable/sat. I want a viable replacement. For now, netflix and an antenna is suitable for my needs. However, I would like to be able to subscribe to, dare I say, an online broadcasting company to stream alternate premium shows as they air....

It's bad enough I have to wait up to an extra month from release for new movies (on certain labels/studios) to become available even to be delivered from netflix, let alone streamed. These damn companies need to look at the bigger picture and tap into a new market.

There's one good side to this though. What if one of the shows that you want to watch is on a channel that isn't available on your current cable/satellite subscription? You can't Tivo/DVR from a channel that you don't get. I could see renting the occasional episode from a channel that I don't currently get.

Seems a bit pricey for just renting a TV show. Why would I rent Futurama, for example, when I can buy an entire season for on DVD for less than it would cost to rent it?

With most shows these days, especially cable shows, they replay new episodes several times after the original air date. Seems kind of a waste to pay for this. Not sure how Google plans on doing it either.

None of these so-called rental options are a viable replacement for cable. I want to be able to create an online playlist of shows/services that are available to cable/satellite customers. I see no reason paying for shows/entertainment with a cable/sat company that I do not want to see.

How hard can it be to create a service that allows me to decide what shows/premium movies I'd like to watch and keep the price at a minimum (20-30 with ad support, whatever) and be compatible with current devices (ps3/xbox/itv/roku/boxee box) it doesn't have to necessarily undermine the cable/sat providers because some people will always want 'everything'

There has to be a way for these broadcasting groups to make money this way.

If Apple did a Netflix type subscription it would be win. This is just fail. Apple is betting this will help them gain additional revenue on purchases through the new Apple TV. We all know there is no way your are going to be able to stream Netflix or anything else Video content wise outside of the Apple happy land to the new Apple TV this unless it is hacked. You Tube does not count. =) Looks like HTPC is still going to be the best solution hands down.

Mikee4fun said,
If Apple did a Netflix type subscription it would be win. This is just fail. Apple is betting this will help them gain additional revenue on purchases through the new Apple TV. We all know there is no way your are going to be able to stream Netflix or anything else Video content wise outside of the Apple happy land to the new Apple TV this unless it is hacked. You Tube does not count. =) Looks like HTPC is still going to be the best solution hands down.

i though apple tv was suppose to be running the iOS soon if it wasnt already... didnt netflix and hulu already announce they were working on apps for the iOS?

ILikeTobacco said,

i though apple tv was suppose to be running the iOS soon if it wasnt already... didnt netflix and hulu already announce they were working on apps for the iOS?

It is all Rumors. I seriously doubt, Steve will allow this, unless Apple gets some fat royalty off of Netflix and Hulu integration.

Mikee4fun said,

It is all Rumors. I seriously doubt, Steve will allow this, unless Apple gets some fat royalty off of Netflix and Hulu integration.

Netflix already has an app for the iPad (it was released just after the iPad launched), and are still working on the iPhone/iPod touch app. Netflix demoed the app at the iPad launch event. Where have you been?

roadwarrior said,

Netflix already has an app for the iPad (it was released just after the iPad launched), and are still working on the iPhone/iPod touch app. Netflix demoed the app at the iPad launch event. Where have you been?

That is the iPad, not Apple TV. Seen it on Apple TV yet... I sure haven't.

The second season of Chuck has 22 episodes, that is 22 dollars to rent it from iTunes, the dvd boxset of season two is currently on sale at Amazon for $24.

SpecialK. said,
The second season of Chuck has 22 episodes, that is 22 dollars to rent it from iTunes, the dvd boxset of season two is currently on sale at Amazon for $24.

And for $2 more, you OWN every episode from the box set. I'm not sure if that's your point, but if you are supporting Apple, you just proved yourself wrong.

andrewbares said,

And for $2 more, you OWN every episode from the box set. I'm not sure if that's your point, but if you are supporting Apple, you just proved yourself wrong.

My point was, why would someone rent the episodes if you could own the DVD Boxset for 2 dollars more or the Bluray boxset for 6 dollars more.

More expensive for most people, assuming they watch an hour and a half of TV.

90 minutes of TV a day / 30 minutes per show = 3 shows a day * 30 days in a month = 90 shows a month * $1.00 per show = $90 per month.

That's much more expensive than cable or satellite, and what happens to your local news shows? Live sports? Live anything? This is still too expensive to replace normal subscription TV.

QuietStorm21A said,
I would rather a subscription like Netflix it seems like the better deal!

while watching old seasons would be a much better deal through netflix, ive always been annoyed that netflix is a few seasons behind in some series. what is being described above would be nice if you miss the latest installment of the current season.

"These rentals would be good for 48 hours and would be available within 24 hours of the air date. "

ILikeTobacco said,

while watching old seasons would be a much better deal through netflix, ive always been annoyed that netflix is a few seasons behind in some series. what is being described above would be nice if you miss the latest installment of the current season.

"These rentals would be good for 48 hours and would be available within 24 hours of the air date. "

Umm, you can watch almost all the latest shows online for FREE within 24 or 48 hours of it airing, through Hulu or the broadcasting station's website (Fox.com, etc).

andrewbares said,

Umm, you can watch almost all the latest shows online for FREE within 24 or 48 hours of it airing, through Hulu or the broadcasting station's website (Fox.com, etc).

You must be American. You can return to your rock now, the big boys (i.e. the rest of the world) are trying to have a conversation.

In case you didn't get it those services are only available to those in the US and the ability to access them through VPN's is becoming increasingly difficult.

ascendant123 said,

You must be American. You can return to your rock now, the big boys (i.e. the rest of the world) are trying to have a conversation.

In case you didn't get it those services are only available to those in the US and the ability to access them through VPN's is becoming increasingly difficult.

Yes I'm American, and so is NBC and Fox and ABC, and Apple too. Doesn't Britain have its own television studios which broadcast their own TV shows online, similar to how Fox and ABC does? I bet I can't access your British or German television shows from America, just like you can't really access ours over the internet. It makes sense to me.

If this can be a use for renting TV shows from Apple though, then that's good. The only other use I can think of is if you want to bring up a really funny episode of a TV show to show your friend, so you quickly rent it for $1 and play it for them. But if the episode was so great, you would probably buy it for $1 more anyways.... idk.

andrewbares said,

Yes I'm American, and so is NBC and Fox and ABC, and Apple too. Doesn't Britain have its own television studios which broadcast their own TV shows online, similar to how Fox and ABC does? I bet I can't access your British or German television shows from America, just like you can't really access ours over the internet. It makes sense to me.

If this can be a use for renting TV shows from Apple though, then that's good. The only other use I can think of is if you want to bring up a really funny episode of a TV show to show your friend, so you quickly rent it for $1 and play it for them. But if the episode was so great, you would probably buy it for $1 more anyways.... idk.

I'm not British either so I couldn't comment but no that basically isn't the norm across the world. The majority of TV shows the world watches are American based (or rather, broadcasted first in America) and are therefor exclusively licensed for their home channels Internet viewing; other stations only license the right to broadcast them terrestrially.

A lot of places around the world get DVD releases months later as well. This includes the +$50 Amazon charges for international postage on DVD box sets which makes them considerably more expensive.

I'm not saying I'm particularly a fan of renting TV shows but it is a very reasonable price and I'm sure I will use it a couple of times if a torrent is slow to come up or my favourite site is down etc. Your narrow view of the world (i.e. American) should be left out of the comments, though.

There are other places than Hulu (which I can't access due to their restrictions) to watch TV shows, places that don't have country restrictions in place. And no, I'm not talking about torrenting. I'm talking about good ol' fashioned streaming, or in my case downloading from the stream to watch later when I get the chance

I can't understand the idea of renting an episode. Sure, if you're new to the Internet and want to be good then it's an option, but anyone who is desperate enough to not miss an episode of their favourite show can easily find alternative methods instead of paying.

ascendant123 said,

I'm not British either so I couldn't comment but no that basically isn't the norm across the world. The majority of TV shows the world watches are American based (or rather, broadcasted first in America) and are therefor exclusively licensed for their home channels Internet viewing; other stations only license the right to broadcast them terrestrially.

A lot of places around the world get DVD releases months later as well. This includes the +$50 Amazon charges for international postage on DVD box sets which makes them considerably more expensive.

I'm not saying I'm particularly a fan of renting TV shows but it is a very reasonable price and I'm sure I will use it a couple of times if a torrent is slow to come up or my favourite site is down etc. Your narrow view of the world (i.e. American) should be left out of the comments, though.

Speaking from England, we do have the exact same service with the BBC, ITV (not the Apple rubbish), Channel 4, and numerous other stations. Completely free service.

Having travelled and lived in numerous countries outside of the UK, I can also say that a number of other countries, have this service. Are you perhaps living in a third world country, such as South Africa? Only when I lived over there (or friends who lived in similar countries), did I notice major differences, such as DVD release dates being months away.

ascendant123 said,

You must be American. You can return to your rock now, the big boys (i.e. the rest of the world) are trying to have a conversation.
In case you didn't get it those services are only available to those in the US and the ability to access them through VPN's is becoming increasingly difficult.

And what makes you think that you will be able to access them outside the US via iTunes? The same licensing restrictions would likely still apply. Just as there are albums and videos from other countries that aren't available in the US iTunes store, there is plenty of US iTunes content that isn't available in other countries.

ascendant123 said,

You must be American. You can return to your rock now, the big boys (i.e. the rest of the world) are trying to have a conversation.

In case you didn't get it those services are only available to those in the US and the ability to access them through VPN's is becoming increasingly difficult.

Wow, "big boy", and I thought that we were arrogant.

The original comment you are replying to is talking about an American service. So if you want to go off your rocker about how unfair it is that you don't get a particular American service, at least have the desency to start your own thread on it. Ridiculous.

JustinN said,

Having travelled and lived in numerous countries outside of the UK, I can also say that a number of other countries, have this service. Are you perhaps living in a third world country, such as South Africa? Only when I lived over there (or friends who lived in similar countries), did I notice major differences, such as DVD release dates being months away.

Australia right now. I also experienced similar issues in France, Russia and the Netherlands.

roadwarrior said,

And what makes you think that you will be able to access them outside the US via iTunes?

I have no such expectation--just that it would be worth the 99 cents if it were available worldwide. andrewbares seems completely unwilling to ever consider that a cost for it is ever acceptable, under any circumstances. I provide a counter point.

+Shadrak said,

The original comment you are replying to is talking about an American service. So if you want to go off your rocker about how unfair it is that you don't get a particular American service, at least have the desency to start your own thread on it. Ridiculous.

Actually, the entire article is about a service that is yet to have its location restrictions announced--I wasn't replying to the Netflix comment at all. I was actually replying to andrew's comment that paying for something is completely inconceivable which is obviously not the case to every person in every country.

I don't particularly think it is unfair, either, I don't really care that much--studios have the right to license to whom and to where they want. It's another thing to come stomping in to a conversation shouting that anyone who pays a nominal fee (let me put it this way: for an hour of minimum wage, you could buy a season of most shows) is an idiot. It's essentially the equivalent of me saying that anyone who pays anything for healthcare is an idiot, or medication, or public transport, etc.

ascendant123 said,

I don't particularly think it is unfair, either, I don't really care that much--studios have the right to license to whom and to where they want. It's another thing to come stomping in to a conversation shouting that anyone who pays a nominal fee (let me put it this way: for an hour of minimum wage, you could buy a season of most shows) is an idiot. It's essentially the equivalent of me saying that anyone who pays anything for healthcare is an idiot, or medication, or public transport, etc.

And then I throw SpecialK's point at you, "My point was, why would someone rent the episodes if you could own the DVD Boxset for 2 dollars more".

Unless they don't let certain DVD's ship from Amazon's warehouses to where you live, buying the episodes on disc is a better option still. (I wouldn't know, not because I'm a "little boy", but because, similarly, do you know shipping rules to Nigeria or Haiti?)

andrewbares said,

And then I throw SpecialK's point at you, "My point was, why would someone rent the episodes if you could own the DVD Boxset for 2 dollars more".

Unless they don't let certain DVD's ship from Amazon's warehouses to where you live, buying the episodes on disc is a better option still. (I wouldn't know, not because I'm a "little boy", but because, similarly, do you know shipping rules to Nigeria or Haiti?)

I don't know shipping rules to every country either.

You do seem to be forgetting international postage though... which tends to be at least $50 for boxsets. That's the cheap postage too which as a 6-8 week shipping time.

I'm not paying .99 to rent a show. With the number of shows we watch it would cost an absolute fortune compared to my satellite bill. Nor will I pay for shows that are freely broadcast over the air.

archer75 said,
I'm not paying .99 to rent a show. With the number of shows we watch it would cost an absolute fortune compared to my satellite bill. Nor will I pay for shows that are freely broadcast over the air.

My sat bill is around $70-80 a month, and I doubt I watch 70 shows.