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Summary:

Apple is recruiting TV networks to go in on an iTunes TV subscription offering, according to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo. For $30 per month starting “early next year,” users would be able to watch episodes via iTunes. This is actually something that had been suggested to […]

Apple is recruiting TV networks to go in on an iTunes TV subscription offering, according to Peter Kafka at MediaMemo. For $30 per month starting “early next year,” users would be able to watch episodes via iTunes. This is actually something that had been suggested to the company by prolific Apple prognosticator Gene Munster, who recommended in August that Apple charge $30 to $40 for a sub-library of its TV shows in order to recruit customers away from their $85-plus per month cable bills.

iTunesTVCould Steve Jobs actually be implementing advice from the hoi polloi? Maybe. A TV subscription product actually sounds promising given that iTunes already has an established business of selling digital content delivered over the Internet — TV episodes, even! — so it’s out in front of “TV Everywhere” Hulu-like sites for paying subscribers of cable companies and other TV operators, as well as Hulu itself.

But on the other hand, iTunes today sells downloads, and only downloads. Few people seem to care about owning TV episodes, unless you’re talking multi-season boxed and special-featured DVD sets. Meanwhile, on-demand streaming is by far the dominant method of consuming TV, especially as distributors delve into HD and adaptive bitrate streaming. And iTunes’ sales numbers are actually not that big, with some public stats only showing tens of thousands of downloads per TV episode.

Further, there’s no word on when episodes would be available and for what windows — but then no networks have actually signed on yet. Kafka suggests Disney, due to its close relationship with Apple via Jobs, could be the first to join. But if iTunes wants to go from a la carte to subscription, it really need to have an excellent stock of current content from everyone in the business.

  1. perhaps there will be a transformation in habits…kafka

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  2. Would you guys subscribe for $30/month? Personally, most of what I’d watch on iTunes is already on Hulu or elsewhere, so I think the real play would be if this tied into the broader Apple ecosystem…but first it needs to include an actual living room strategy.

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    1. Liz
      Do you expect Hulu to remain as is next year? It seems like they will be either forced to increase the ad times or charge. If Apple comes with a subscription model 30$/month I will most probably go with it.

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      1. @Kiran – That’s true, we’ll have to see how things change. But I think Hulu will stick around giving stuff away with a few ads a while longer.

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    2. Yes – if it is as easy as flipping on the TV and watching what I want. If I have to jump through 15 hoops just to get to the content I’m looking for then it’s useless.

      It would boil down to convenience.

      Also, $30/month is cheap.

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  3. goodbye cable!

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  4. [...] several other interesting thoughts on these possibly disruptive developments, check out Liz’s and Darrell’s posts [...]

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  5. I would do this in a heartbeat. I hate Comcast Cable TV for their poor service and premium rates. However, my guess is that Apple would have to complete their new East Coast data center to launch such a service. I believe this North Carolina facility should be completed by the end of 2010.

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  6. [...] Apple Could Launch iTunes Version of TV Everywhere: $30 Per Month for TV – NewTeeVee [...]

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  7. [...] $30 a month — the amount that Apple was rumored to be charging the first time the news hit the industry — is less than what I pay for FiOS TV, but not [...]

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  8. [...] the price of TV shows sold through iTunes to 99 cents. The company has also reportedly considered launching its own subscription video service, offering access to multiple TV shows for $30 a [...]

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  9. [...] the price of TV shows sold through iTunes to 99 cents. The company has also reportedly considered launching its own subscription video service, offering access to multiple TV shows for $30 a [...]

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  10. [...] be in bringing the offering to its Apple TV set-top box. Apple has been working hard to try to develop a linear, subscription-based video service to compete against the big cable companies, but one thing holding it back is the ability to provide [...]

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