Rumor: Apple Preparing 99 Cent iTunes "Rent-A-Show"?

The rumor merry-go-round with Apple’s foray into television continues to churn.  The latest has Apple possibly being in far along talks with News Corp. to give iTunes consumers the chance to rent TV shows for 99 cents, as well as being in talks with other companies, according to Bloomberg.

The news comes from three people said to be familiar with the talks.  How would it work?  The story goes that viewers would get the chance to rent programs from News Corp. owned Fox for 48 hours of viewing capabilities.  CBS Corp., NBC Universal as well as Walt Disney Co. are also thinking about getting in on the deal as well.

The thinking is that the deals would give users access to TV’s most watched programs, while at the same time, doing a bit of cross promotion, with the appeal of the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.  As Apple continues to strive to make iTunes one of the largest retailers of all music and mobile applications, one can’t help but wonder how companies like Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu LLC, might happen to feel about it.

“This is a smart move by everyone,” stated David Bank, an RBC Capital Markets analyst.  “Something like this a la carte rental service is an incremental opportunity.”

Show episodes would roll into Apple’s rental service within 24 hours upon their air date and would also be commercial-free.  Apple is also planning on holding a San Francisco event on September 7th, which ironically, is also two weeks ahead of the next prime-time TV season, probably unveiling the service as well as a refreshed line of devices, two of the sources said.

It’s also being said that FOX and ABC are closer to an agreement than CBS and NBC, who may not partake in the September 7th event.  But should an agreement be reached, CBS and NBC would add on programming.

“This takes Apple out of the position of making consumers decide to either buy or not view,” noted analyst Michael Gartenberg, with tech research firm Altimeter Group.  “It makes Apple much more competitive with services like Hulu.”

Source: News

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