Despite decent sales numbers, the Apple TV – a “hobby” according to Steve Jobs – never managed to become a success comparable to the iPad or the iPhone, most notably due to the fact that the Movie and TV show industries were not ready for it. Despite Apple’s push for rental services, at launch, most of the content for the Apple TV was for sale and was expensive, while the market was mostly driven by companies like Netflix or Hulu, who do not sell any content, and emphasize on mail-in rentals and online services.
Three years later, Apple may have finally convinced the TV Show industry to revisit the idea that renting is a viable option, as according to Bloomberg, the Cupertino-based company is finally close to offering shows for rent, at 99 cents each. The media companies involved in the deal are News Corp. (FOX properties), CBS, as well as The Walt Disney Company (ABC properties). The shows will be accessible via the iPad, the iPhone, the iPod, as well as the upcoming iTV, and the renters will be allowed to watch them as many times as they want within a 48-hour period.
Note that while the price of the rentals is much lower than the price of the same shows currently for sale (99 cents vs. $1.99 for standard definition and $2.99 for HD), the cost to rent a show remains steep, especially when compared to semi-free services like Hulu, or even paid services like Netflix. And even if the rentals will be offered in high definition in order to help sweeten the deal, it would be a smart move from Apple and its partners to provide an even better option: allow users to rent complete TV shows seasons, at a even lower price. Wait and see.