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Apple Quietly Drops TV Show Rentals

29 Aug, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Apple Inc. has stopped offering 99-cent rentals of television shows on Apple TV and signature iTunes content store.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant, which last year pushed media companies to allow kiosk pricing for repurposed TV programming online, had made the ability to rent shows for 48 hours a hallmark of its reinvigorated Apple TV set-top box. Consumers still can purchase TV episodes and purchase or rent movies on iTunes.

“iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr told AllThingsDigital.com Aug. 26 in a statement. “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.”

Among major TV networks, Fox and ABC were the largest contributors of TV rental content.

”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,” Fox said in a statement. “To further enhance the value of ownership, we are working with Apple to make content available within their new cloud-based service.”

Apple, which announced last week its co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs is stepping down, recently revealed it is selling about 500,000 Apple TV units a quarter — a far cry from sales of its other popular portable media devices such as the iPhone and iPad.


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