NBC isn't the only broadcast company that's fighting Apple
on 99 cent iTunes rentals. Apparently Time Warner doesn't want in on the plan, either. That's according to its CEO Jeff Bewkes
, who told a conference of media executives in London that Apple is underselling television content by providing cheap rentals to customers. "How can you justify renting your first-run TV shows individually for 99 cents an episode," he asked, "and thereby jeopardize the sale of the same shows as a series to branded networks that pay hundreds of millions of dollars and make those shows available to loyal viewers for free?" The argument seems to be that if Apple offers 99 cent rentals, there's no incentive for syndication on other networks. Why would you watch cable reruns when you could load up old shows whenever you wanted for just a buck?
Of course, Bewkes is assuming that people will watch cable reruns rather than Netflix or other streaming services, which are already offered. By the time he comes around to singing Apple's tune, that syndication market worth "hundreds of millions of dollars" might not be doing so well.
But Bewkes is holding his ground -- he says that before he makes a deal with a provider like Apple, it'll have to bring something new to the table: "These new entrants must meet a few criteria: They must provide consumers with a superior TV experience, and they must either support or improve the overall economics that funds and creates the programming in the first place." That's a lot of "musts." Bewkes may spend too much time looking for his own perfect solution before Apple's setup passes him by.