Hulu and Netflix TV Rentals Rise as Apple’s Service Quietly Dies

Filed in Gather Technology News Channel by on August 29, 2011 0 Comments

Apple will no longer be offering 99¢ video rentals of TV shows via iTunes. Hamstrung by exclusive deals between content providers and the likes of Netflix and Hulu, most of the networks were not willing to offer their shows for rent at that price.

The only two networks who participated in TV show rentals through Apple’s iTunes, Fox and ABC, were still only comfortable with releasing a limited number of shows at the 99-cent price point. That meant there was no way for Apple to offer popular shows like True Blood and Bones. And although there were rumors that Apple would soon start a subscription rental service for TV shows, that rumor no longer has legs.

Photo Source: The Digital Cave

Whether Apple eventually decides to offer content on a rental basis or not, it’s clear that TV is becoming less centered around cable and satellite providers. HULU Plus and Netflix can each be had for $7.99 a month. With those two services, you are likely covered for a good portion of your television needs at less than $16 per month total for both Hulu Plus and Netflix TV service. If you don’t mind the missing channels (and making up for some of the missing channels by getting creative: using the cable companies websites and their iPhone apps to catch up on the latest shows from the likes of the Discovery Channel and HGTV, for instance, which stream much of their content for free). For those living in the UK, catch-up services like the BBC’s iPlayer have made replaying live television a breeze. (Although BBC’s iPlayer isn’t available in North America, some of its shows are available through the Netflix TV video on demand subscription).

If Apple were to start a subscription service, they would have a unique advantage. Unlike Hulu or Netflix, Apple also sells the hardware that their service would run on. They could run a content subscription service at a minimal profit and still come out ahead based on their sales of AppleTV devices. This is exactly the model they used for the iTunes store and their iconic iPod music player.

Popular shows still available on iTunes include the following: Dexter, Glee, Pretty Little Liars, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Big Brother, Dance Moms, Alphas, Doctor Who, Rescue Me, Leverage, Breaking Bad, Jersey Shore, Necessary Roughness, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Burn Notice, Futurama, Project Runway and NCIS.

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