No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

Summary: Citing tepid customer demand, Apple has pulled the virtual plug on TV-show rentals from the iTunes Store, according to AllThingsD, but could it actually be a harbinger of something much, much bigger from the tech giant?A statement from an Apple spokesperson claims that the rental model was embraced by neither customers nor TV studios.

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TOPICS: Hardware, Apple, Mobility
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Citing tepid customer demand, Apple has pulled the virtual plug on TV-show rentals from the iTunes Store, according to AllThingsD, but could it actually be a harbinger of something much, much bigger from the tech giant?

A statement from an Apple spokesperson claims that the rental model was embraced by neither customers nor TV studios. A lot of that has to do with the fact that you can watch many new episodes at your convenience on Hulu for free or through the on-demand service of your pay TV provider. And now that you can store purchased TV shows from iTunes as part of Apple's Cloud beta, users may prefer to buy an extra couple of bucks to own an episode permanently and access it through any iOS device.

But this being Apple, the tea readers are already trying to determine if the move is setting the stage for something bigger and more, well, Apple-like. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company is working a "new technology" that would beam video to TVs. Presumably this would be related to the long-anticipated iTunes TV subscription service, and may be tied to the persistent rumors of an Apple HDTV.

What's intriguing is the description of this as "new" technology, as it suggests something more disruptive that could potentially let customers bypass their cable or satellite providers. Imagine having a la carte options instead of a package of channels you have to subscribe to, whether you want to or not. Now imagine how hard every one of those pay TV providers will fight against this ever happening.

Still, you can't count such a scenario out. Remember, it was iTunes that turned the CD from the principal money-maker for the music industry into a relic for many people under 30. Could it do it again to traditional pay TV?

[Via Ars Technica]

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Mobility

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  • 99 cents to rent or 99 cents to buy, the answer is obvious

    Most TV shows on DVD cost $1 per episode. And have something that can be re-sold, albeit at a slightly lower value.

    Renting is a joke.
    HypnoToad72
  • One of Apple's poorer offerings

    Netflix rental system has Apple soo beat in this department. And I think the studios contributed a bit, the selection was rather limited, and never consistent, for rentals through iTunes.
    oncall
  • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

    Or, it could be tepid demand meant the revenue did not support the costs.

    I've been watching the tech world for nearly 30 years; everyone is thinking about how to extend what they do into an adjacent market.

    All we can safely say is that Apple does not consider tv episode rental a necessary part of their current or future business. Not much of a Q for the E.D.
    DannyO_0x98
  • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

    I bought seasons. Now iTunes allows streaming / redownloads of TV shows and all purchased music. Perhaps that "purchased season" dataset along with streaming HD from iCloud drove this decision? I can't sit and watch when a show I want to see comes on and time shifting + license fees make more money for content creators. Typical AAPL approach.
    Grolaw
  • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

    "Remember, it was iTunes that turned the CD from the principal money-maker for the music industry into a relic for many people under 30."
    You are giving too much credit to Itunes. I always thought that the Internet with its all you want free stuff was the one responsible of loosing CD sales.
    Otherwise, I agree that Itunes was the first to capitalize that market.
    picot
    • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

      @picot <br>You are correct. CD sales were already circling the drain by the time iTunes Music Store was introduced. The record companies were so desperate, they thought little old Apple wouldn't make a difference, since iTunes was originally Mac only.
      Synthmeister
  • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

    "Remember, it was iTunes that turned the CD from the principal money-maker for the music industry into a relic for many people under 30. "

    Yeah, right. A little thing called 'Napster' had nothing to do with that.
    Doctor Demento
    • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

      @Doctor Demento Napster was the birth of illegal music sharing by the masses. iTunes was the first viable music download service where you would actually buy the music.
      Champ_Kind
  • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

    Imagine if your normal Cable TV channel guide had a little check box column for each channel subscribe/unsubscribe and you were charged accordingly. Sooner or later disintermediation of the internet will give us that true A la Carte. If cable operators don't act soon enough Apple or Netflix will take over the majority of this business.

    http://cordcutterguide.com/
    GNS1
    • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

      @GNS1 The issue at hand is that cable (and satellite) providers pay for their channels in packages, and in turn you receive certain groups of channels in packages. Every content provider does this (TW, NBC, CBS/Viacom, Disney/ABC, FOX, etc). If we want true a la carte programing, we need to go after content providers.
      Champ_Kind
  • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

    Netflix is doing very well in the TV and Movie content so far.
    I would not say that Apple could not position themselves in this area, as well as who knows what others?


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  • If I were Tim Cook ...

    ... I'd be making a play to position Apple as an alternative to cable or satellite by offering a monthly subscription service (matching or slightly under-cutting the cable/sat providers) and allowing subscribers to watch whatever they choose, whenever they choose, from whatever device they choose. Unlimited access to archived shows; new shows on the same release schedule as network TV.<br><br>Apple could capture billions more by providing consumers with what they've asked for for decades: the ability to buy and watch the shows/networks that they want.

    Total game changer for "broadcast" TV and cable/satellite.
    jscott69
    • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

      @jscott69 Apple would have to severely undercut cable providers, since most cable companies raise the price of internet if you don't have TV service.
      Champ_Kind
  • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

    The only major stuff to expect from an iTV (best name you could come up with in the Apple world ;) ) is simply Netflix features built into it, with the ability to add more sources to get TV shows from the internet.

    Wouldn't/can't be a killer to the cable TV providers until all news sites have a live video source as they are on TV.
    MrElectrifyer
  • RE: No more TV-show rentals on iTunes -- a sign of something bigger from Apple?

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