Netflix inks deal with Apple to offer sign-up and billing via Apple TV and iTunes

Hinting at what a cable provider deal could look like, Netflix will allow subscribers to sign up for the service via Apple TV and handle billing through iTunes.

Netflix is trying to make it easier and easer to sign up for its service. What better way to accomplish that than by teaming up with Apple.

In an interesting move, Netfix says that customers will be able to sign up for the service directly through Apple TV. Billing for the service will then be handled via iTunes, marking the first time Netflix has handed the billing reins to another company.

The news is notable by itself, but it's perhaps more compelling in light of the recent reports of Netflix's intentions to saddle up with cable companies before the end of the year. Through such a deal, Netflix would be able to offer its service to cable subscribers directly via their existing cable plans.

Such a move would increase subscriber numbers, sure, but it would also help get cable providers off Netflix's case. Comcast et al. aren't too happy with what Netflix is doing to their pipes. Same goes, potentially, for their subscriber churn.

As for the Apple TV deal, its likely a bigger deal for Netflix than it is for Apple. Being able to handle Netflix billing directly from iTunes isn't going to move many Apple TV boxes, but it will definitely make it easier for Netflix to attract and keep subscribers. It will be interesting to see how this deal influences any potentially similar arrangements with cable providers.