Report: Apple & Fox Working Out Deal for 99-Cent TV Rentals

Apple and Fox Corp. are busily working out details for US$0.99 TV show rentals, according to a report from Bloomberg. The report said that the deal would allow users to rent TV programs for 48 hours, and that Apple was also in discussion with other TV studios and networks.

Bloomberg cited three unnamed sources “familiar with the plan,” and those sources said Apple was talking to CBS and Disney (which owns ABC), as well. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is a major shareholder and board member of Disney, and the two companies have often worked together on content deals for iTunes.

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

TV shows would be available for rent within 24 hours of their original air date, and they will appear commercial-free. Bloomberg also reported that Apple would announce the service on September 7th with a (much expected and rumored) media event, and that it would use the event to announce the other hot-rumor item, the $99 Apple TV. The report did not name the device the iTV, as has been rumored elsewhere.

The report also said that the new rental service replaces Apple’s original plan for a subscription service that would have rivaled cable TV. The networks balked at upsetting the apple cart (pun intended) concerning its existing business arrangements with cable and satellite providers, and the rental service was the best way to offer cheaper TV content.