Apple Pulls TV Show Rentals from Apple TV, iTunes

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Apple's TV Business
Less than a year after it was introduced with great fanfare, Apple Inc. has quietly ended what one TV studio referred to as the TV show rental “trial.” iTunes customers and Apple TV users will no longer find the option to rent TV shows for US$0.99, though movie rentals are still available. Customers can still buy both TV shows and Movies.

On that note, it is the idea of buying TV shows that both Fox TV and an Apple spokesperson focused on when responding to AllThingsD about the abrupt and quiet removal of the TV rental option.

“iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD. “iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose.”

Fox TV released a statement, in which it said, “After carefully considering the results of the rental trial, it became clear that content ownership is a more attractive long-term value proposition both for iTunes customers and for our business. To further enhance the value of ownership, we are working with Apple to make content available within their new cloud-based service.”

So it would appear as if there wasn’t enough interest from consumers in renting their shows to justify the service for either Apple or Fox.

One of the interesting aspects of this is that this reality actually matches what Apple and former CEO Steve Jobs said for years and years when it comes to music: People want to own their music, not rent it. While it was the same Steve Jobs that reportedly lobbied heavily for the TV studios and networks to allow Apple to launch a TV rental service.

For instance, when he was on stage with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher in June of 2010 for D, he said that his position was, “Price it aggressively and go for volume.” He was technically speaking to the subject of journalism, but the TV rental “trial” seemed to fit into that model, too.

The other interesting aspect of this is a little tidbit from another News Corp. holding, The Wall Street Journal. In one of many mainstream reports about the challenges that lie ahead of newly ordained Apple CEO Tim Cook, the newspaper mentioned that, “Apple is working on new technology to deliver video to televisions, and has been discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service.”

The removal of the TV rental service could conceivably be a precursor to the launch of something new for Apple in the TV space, including a subscription service.

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11 Comments Leave Your Own

Wayne

Speaking for myself, it’s not that I preferred owning versus renting, I just preferred getting my money’s worth.  If the TV rentals had been priced appropriately, I would have rented far more content.  $.99 for a 22 minute program ($1.99 for HD) is way too much.  If the price had been $.25 per half hour I would have canceled cable and thrown out the DVR long ago.

Max

I preferred renting TV shows. Unlike a movie, which I might watch again, I’m never going to go back and re-watch a TV episode. I think the “lack of demand” is really “studios wanting higher revenue.”

Irked

I would prefer my itunes account not be hijacked like mine was yesterday and not being able to speak to a customer rep. Out over $100 so far and still no response from Apple

dave256

I think the studios are the reason this wasn’t successful. Very few current shows were available for rent. Occasionally our DVR missed a show this season, but none of those were available for rental - only for purchase. Rentals were mainly older seasons and many fewer shows than were available for purchase.

old_man_cynic

How about turning off your TV all together and getting outside and plant some vegetables?  I know,who does that anymore?

Dean Lewis

Now, how the hell am I going to plant vegetables without HGTV to tell me how? Silly cynic.


wink

Lee Dronick

How about turning off your TV all together and getting outside and plant some vegetables?? I know,who does that anymore?

Well to tell the truth I am going to be on the next episode of Hoarders. I have so many tomato plants that I can barely get around the yard. The neighbors have a court injunction preventing me from gifting them anymore tomatoes. My water bill is so high that I had to hijack a troll’s iTunes account to pay for it.

But yes, our lives should be rounded, like a tomato, do things other than watch TV.

Seriously I have a had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. I have boiled gallons of them down to sauce which I will use until next spring.

palenoue

Seriously I have a had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year. I have boiled gallons of them down to sauce which I will use until next spring.

Slice them thin and dry them out to make tomato chips.  Taste good as is, taste better crushed on sandwiches, soups, potatoes, etc.

quote author=“old_man_cynic” date=“1314464262”]How about turning off your TV all together and getting outside and plant some vegetables?? I know,who does that anymore?

I spend most of my day outside doing various things.  Evenings I’m tired, worn out and in the mood to watch entertaining stories, which iTunes rentals didn’t have much of so I rarely used.

Stop assuming that because I like to watch a couple shows at night that my life is a wasteland of inactivity.

Lee Dronick

Thanks palenoue, I will try drying some tomatoes. I have done that with peppers both sweet and hot.

Substance

Well to tell the truth I am going to be on the next episode of Hoarders. I have so many tomato plants that I can barely get around the yard. The neighbors have a court injunction preventing me from gifting them anymore tomatoes. My water bill is so high that I had to hijack a troll?s iTunes account to pay for it.

That’s the funniest post I’ve read in a long time.  Thanks for the effort Sir Flashman!

kevinolive

I dropped traditional pay tv and have been using iTunes, Hulu, NetFlix, and my OTA antenna with EyeTV for a couple years. I personally have little interest in owning tv shows or movies but yes, I’d like to own my music.
As for pricing, I think that $.99 for a TV show whether it is 20 minute or 50 minutes is a little unbalanced.  I thought half hour shows should’ve been $.49.  But as when renting was an option, it matters little what I think.

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