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Wall Street Journal confirms iTunes TV show rentals [Update: Netflix on Apple TV claimed by BusinessWeek]


TV shows and iTunes go back several years now, to October 2005. If iTunes TV show sales have not been as brisk over those five years as Apple and the studios might have hoped, perhaps a less expensive rental solution might introduce vigor to the TV market.

This afternoon, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed with "people familiar with the matter" that Apple is set to announce $0.99 rentals during tomorrow's media event. Rumors of iTunes TV rentals have been widespread over the last month.

With Hulu Plus waiting on the sidelines for $10/month (and ads, for that matter) and Netflix hyping digital streaming to mobile devices, it seems like a good time for Apple to dip its toes into new and more flexible revenue streams. While Apple is willing, it seems like the studios had to be convinced. WSJ sources say that studio participation in the rental scheme is contingent on broader Apple participation in digital development deals.

I know that I have rarely re-watched any of my iTunes purchases -- and that most of those purchases were based on pre-Hulu availability after my EyeTV system failed to record shows. But with Hulu as a major player these days, not to mention the promise of Hulu Plus's mobile streaming service, and with a growing recession, will consumers be willing to pay extra just to skip ads?

Update: Engadget points to the Bloomberg BusinessWeek report claiming Netflix streaming will also be on deck for a revamped Apple TV.

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