Video & Audio|August 30, 2011| Author: Kim LaCapria|Tags: , ,

Apple Ends 99 Cent TV Rentals

Streaming shows for a single viewing is rising in popularity- witness the rapid rise of Netflix streaming and the high sale numbers batted around for the impending sale of Hulu– but Apple has quietly backed out of the rental market.

Late last week, the company announced that it was discontinuing its television rental service. Apple cites consumer preference for purchasing the content at a slightly higher price to 99-cent episode rentals, with Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr commenting:

“iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows. 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.”

Consumer preference for viewing TV content on television sets has been somewhat of a hurdle for the market as users attempt to adapt their digital libraries to more traditional home viewing formats. Content access was not the only difficulty Apple faced in getting traction for the service- TV studios were also reticent to license content for the streaming content while the willingness of consumers to purchase episodes at higher prices was gauged.

A spokesman for Fox- one of the studios who participated in the streaming, commented on the decision:

“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.”

News Corp. COO Chase Carey spoke about the market earlier this month, however, and was far more direct when addressing the practice:

“We want to make sure we are vigilant about attacking practices that undervalue our product, like $1 rentals… Our priority [is] just to make sure we’re thoughtful and do not allow a quick buck to jeopardize the longer-term value of our product.”

As of now, the service is no longer highlighted in the iTunes store.