Are Apple TV Rentals Too Cheap?

apple tv shows

Don’t expect The Big Bang Theory to show up on your Apple TV any time soon — at least not as a rental. Warner Bros. Entertainment Chairman Barry Meyer told the audience of the Bank of America / Merrill Lynch 2010 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference yesterday that his company doesn’t see a good value proposition in these rentals, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

The paper quotes Meyer saying that he doesn’t want to “open up a rental business in television at a low price.” His biggest fear seems to be that cheap rentals will hurt the licensing of entire seasons to other broadcasters.

Holdouts like these could be problematic for Apple. The company has up to now only won over Disney and News Corp. for its TV show rental service, with NBC and CBS waiting on the sidelines as well. That’s decidedly different than one of Jobs’ earlier low-priced success stories: The iTunes music store had songs from all five major labels when it first introduced the idea of a 99-cent price point for music downloads to the world in 2003.

Of course, if history tells us anything, then it’s that Apple won’t relent from the idea of the 99-cent rental anytime soon. The iTunes music store only introduced more variable pricing models after Apple had captured absolute market dominance with it, and in turn sold tons of devices. If has any hopes that the TV show rentals will do the same thing for Apple TV, then he’s going to stick with 99 cents, and hope that Warner eventually changes its mind.

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