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Apple to test $1 TV program price alongside launch of iPad

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
A report indicates that Apple plans on offering individual U.S. TV shows for $1 coinciding with the launch of the iPad in April.

Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that Apple may begin selling some US television shows over iTunes for $1. The pricing test will apply to a limited number of shows in the beginning as a way to test whether reducing the cost of programming increases sales.

The price reduction is expected to begin alongside the retail debut of the iPad in April. According to the Financial Times:

"Some television networks agreed to the lower prices after months of negotiations, and having initially resisted Apples push. Media executives are under pressure from declining DVD sales and cut-rate rental services such as Redbox, that offer rental DVDs for $1."

"It is not yet clear which or how many of the US free-to-air and pay-television networks have agreed to the lower pricing. Some media executives said they have not been approached with the new prices."

Currently, iTunes charges $1.99 for standard definition TV shows and $2.99 for high definition content. Apple is believed to be focusing on standard definition price reductions due to the iPad's 4:3 aspect ratio and non-HD resolution which lends it to standard definition programming.

In late 2009, reports surfaced of an Apple-led push for $30-a-month TV subscription plans via iTunes, but its plan to reduce single-show prices seems to render this less likely.

The Financial Times reports that Apple has been careful to avoid linking its new TV subscription and pricing concepts to its Apple TV set-top device in an attempt to reduce the perceived threat that TV-over-iTunes could pose to traditional TV services.
post #2 of 72
Sounds like a winner. Of course the naysayers will still say $1 is too much...
post #3 of 72
first off the HD videos on itunes are 720p, same as the ipad.

second, i think a drop is an excellent idea. make it $1 for SD and $1.50 for HD (only not that two file thing which just eats up space). also get nets like Showtime to put up the episodes as they air and not when the DVD comes out. toss in some season pass only extras even.

third, I still think a subscription plan is a good idea if the math can be worked out. use the same files but with an expiration or an 'at a time' limit (you can always download it again).a lot of folks would go for it if the price was right, the availability was quick and there were no ads.
post #4 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

Sounds like a winner. Of course the naysayers will still say $1 is too much...

If Redbox really is really seen as competition as the article speculates, I think the real solution would be to offer episode rentals at half that. And it would still be more money than they can get through several other rental schemes.
post #5 of 72
[CENTER]Thanks Apple... But No Thanks

I prefer watching HD TV episodes free of charge on a far larger display.[/CENTER]
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post #6 of 72
Only Disney-owned (SJ its largest shareholder) ABC will go for this. I don't see NBC in for this at all. But who watches these more than once anyway? Streaming TV shows is the way to go. IMHO.
Besides you can watch them all now in flash for free.
post #7 of 72
Personally I think that $2-$3 is only worth it for really good TV shows. I don't mind too much because I watch less TV and have more time to waste posting comments here. I wonder if $1 TV shows will actually be rentals...
post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEKSTUD View Post

Only Disney-owned (SJ its largest shareholder) ABC will go for this. I don't see NBC in for this at all. But who watches these more than once anyway? Streaming TV shows is the way to go. IMHO.
Besides you can watch them all now in flash for free.

You have ads with flash, but there is no way an ad pays anywhere close to $2-$3 per viewer. Sites like Netflix and Redbox are also very unbalanced compared to iTunes. I would think movie studios would want to get off disc based media as fast as possible to avoid these low revenue rentals. You would think the would want to go fully to a streaming or DRM model to regain that revenue. I'm sure they could subsidize a streaming box and still make a ton of additional revenue if they stopped making discs. Although maybe Internet isn't that ambiguous yet. Maybe a subsidized hard drive you bring to a video store? Anyway... DVDs and Blurays are the real threat to movie studios, not digital distribution...

I would rent more TV shows and movies if they were less expensive. Right now I use Netflix most of the time. They probably rent each DVD a hundred times for each copy they own. That amounts to about 0.02 cents each rental. If they make 0.70 cents per rental on ITunes and pulled people away from Netflix they would make a lot more money.
post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by TEKSTUD View Post

Only Disney-owned (SJ its largest shareholder) ABC will go for this. I don't see NBC in for this at all. But who watches these more than once anyway? Streaming TV shows is the way to go. IMHO.

Besides you can watch them all now in flash for free.

[CENTER]Yes... Yes you can on (truly modern) devices that have feature hardware/software capable enough to support Adobe Flash.

Note: inferior technology need not apply.

[/CENTER]
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

Sounds like a winner. Of course the naysayers will still say $1 is too much...

I think the $1 TV shows will happen. Unlike other products from Apple, this will be harder to push to consumers so I think they need to find more services to sweeten the pot.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

If Redbox really is really seen as competition as the article speculates, I think the real solution would be to offer episode rentals at half that. And it would still be more money than they can get through several other rental schemes.

For movie rentals, yes, but digital streaming has inherent convenience for consumers and fear for content owners that I don't think we'll see a drop in movie rentals. I don't think we'll see any TV show rentals that are a la carte.

The quote in the article is odd since it starts off with TV networks and then finishes with RedBox, which I think only rents movies.
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post #11 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

If Redbox really is really seen as competition as the article speculates, I think the real solution would be to offer episode rentals at half that. And it would still be more money than they can get through several other rental schemes.

How is RedBox competition? Physical DVD rentals v. digital downloads is apples to oranges.
post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

[CENTER]Thanks Apple... But No Thanks

I prefer watching HD TV episodes free of charge on a far larger display.[/CENTER]

I know LCD tvs are getting thinner and thinner, but you carry one and a power source around with you?
post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

How is RedBox competition? Physical DVD rentals v. digital downloads is apples to oranges.

They both rent movies. If I have to decide whether to spend $3 from my living room or drive to a RedBox location to see what they have only pay $1, that is competition.

In the digital rental space, there is other competition for that market segment, but RedBox and iTS are in the same market for movie rentals.
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post #14 of 72
Just give me Chuck season 3 and I'll gladly pay the $3/episode. And two files, please (one for ATV and one for the iPhone).
post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

How is RedBox competition? Physical DVD rentals v. digital downloads is apples to oranges.

Yes and no. There is an inherent risk of defining the market too narrowly that you don't see the options people have and the possible choices they can make.

Besides, I only mentioned it because the article did. I don't know if the author was smoking anything interesting or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

I know LCD tvs are getting thinner and thinner, but you carry one and a power source around with you?

What? Given what you responded to, for OTA (what he meant), just get an EyeTV and it can record and automatically transcode it to an Apple-compatible file, then you can take it with you on any device you want. No network hiccups and all that.

I doubt a lot of people are itching to download 250MB files directly on an iPad.
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

I know LCD tvs are getting thinner and thinner, but you carry one and a power source around with you?

[CENTER]... or maybe one could just use one of those new-fangled portable computing devices called Laptops that support Adobe FLASH.

[/CENTER]
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post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

... or maybe one could just use one of those new-fangled portable computing devices called Laptops.

That's a great solution for everyone everywhere.
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post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Yes and no. There is an inherent risk of defining the market too narrowly that you don't see the options people have and the possible choices they can make.

Besides, I only mentioned it because the article did. I don't know if the author was smoking anything interesting or not.



What? Given what you responded to, for OTA (what he meant), just get an EyeTV and it can record and automatically transcode it to an Apple-compatible file, then you can take it with you on any device you want. No network hiccups and all that.

I doubt a lot of people are itching to download 250MB files directly on an iPad.


Some people would rather pay a little for convenience...
post #19 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

Some people would rather pay a little for convenience...

Yes, but some people don't necessarily represent the needs and interests of other people.
post #20 of 72
The only TV Shows I used to purchase on iTunes were things I wanted to watch on the go, or could not get on Hulu.

I stopped because there is no value in purchasing $2-3+tax TV episodes. Not even close.

$1 for both SD/HD, but it needs to be widespread, all TV shows, not some half-cocked "test" that won't catch on because no one who is not already purchasing will become aware of it.
post #21 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That's a great solution for everyone everywhere.

Please stop quoting him, the concerted effort loses when you do.
post #22 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Yes, but some people don't necessarily represent the needs and interests of other people.

Of course not. That's why the iPad is only one of the options Apple sells.

THAT is the entire point. All the iPad-bashing whiners keep going on about how the iPad isn't for them. So what? Just because it's not for them doesn't mean it won't work for some people.

There are millions of people who will grab an iPad. They're already stopping preorders in some countries because the demand was greater than the expected supply.

If someone were saying that you HAD to use an iPad or if Apple were to stop making all of its other products, the complaints might have some validity. As it is, it's just foolish whining from people without the wit to know better.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #23 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Please stop quoting him, the concerted effort loses when you do.

[CENTER]Funny...

That's what I long concluded regarding your posts.

(The concerted effort being to rid the world of nonsensical ranting)


Now about those US 1.00 TV programs...
[/CENTER]
"Why iPhone"... Hmmm?
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post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

How is RedBox competition? Physical DVD rentals v. digital downloads is apples to oranges.

It's only different in the delivery method. I think you are looking at it too narrowly. The real comparison is that for $1 you can either get a feature-lenth Hollywood movie often with high production values, top-notch special effects, etc; or you can get an episode of Two and a Half Men.

Which do you think offers more value for the money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

first off the HD videos on itunes are 720p, same as the ipad.

Technically, the iPad is just shy of 720p; but to your point, it's far higher resolution than standard definition so hopefully they will cut the price of HD, too.

Personally, I'd be willing to rent TV episodes for $1 if that means more would be available. I really don't need to own any of them.
post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Yes, but some people don't necessarily represent the needs and interests of other people.

Given how successful the iTunes store has been, seems to me convenience wins out.
post #26 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

The only TV Shows I used to purchase on iTunes were things I wanted to watch on the go, or could not get on Hulu.

I stopped because there is no value in purchasing $2-3+tax TV episodes. Not even close.

$1 for both SD/HD, but it needs to be widespread, all TV shows, not some half-cocked "test" that won't catch on because no one who is not already purchasing will become aware of it.

I'm pretty sure a lot more than just already-buyers will be aware of it. All Apple needs to do is send an email to everyone that's subscribed to the iTunes or Apple mailing lists. That should give the bean counters plenty of information as to the interest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

Given how successful the iTunes store has been, seems to me convenience wins out.

For music, sure. Especially with the ala carte track purchasing.

But exactly how successful has iTunes video been? Haven't you noticed the conspicuous lack of announcements on video sales figures of late? Apple is quite eager to tell us how many songs they've sold but zip in the past year or so as to how many videos they rent and sell. And even if they did give numbers, then those numbers would need to be compared to other forms of renting. So, no, it's not a slam-dunk case yet.
post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Of course not. That's why the iPad is only one of the options Apple sells.

THAT is the entire point. All the iPad-bashing whiners keep going on about how the iPad isn't for them. So what? Just because it's not for them doesn't mean it won't work for some people.

There are millions of people who will grab an iPad. They're already stopping preorders in some countries because the demand was greater than the expected supply.

If someone were saying that you HAD to use an iPad or if Apple were to stop making all of its other products, the complaints might have some validity. As it is, it's just foolish whining from people without the wit to know better.

All true.

The iPad is somewhat secondary in this story, but when it comes to programming available over the air, the product I mentioned is going to be iPad compatible by default, with no extra effort. For pay TV options, then that is clearly a different story.
post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I'm pretty sure a lot more than just already-buyers will be aware of it. All Apple needs to do is send an email to everyone that's subscribed to the iTunes or Apple mailing lists. That should give the bean counters plenty of information as to the interest.

That's true. Never under estimate the power of a 100 million-person email blast. I usually ignore them, as they're often old news to me.

The problem will be the limited selection. But, in the end, the problem is the networks, (or rather their sponsors who actually "are" the networks). And this problem will not go away. Advertisers of major networks are not about to permit "their" content to be accessed completely commercial free, without getting back some of the revenue.

The difference between a $1 tv show and a $3 tv is probably all advertising revenue.
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

That's true. Never under estimate the power of a 100 million-person email blast. I usually ignore them, as they're often old news to me.

The problem will be the limited selection. But, in the end, the problem is the networks, (or rather their sponsors who actually "are" the networks). And this problem will not go away. Advertisers of major networks are not about to permit "their" content to be accessed completely commercial free, without getting back some of the revenue.

The difference between a $1 tv show and a $3 tv is probably all advertising revenue.

I really don't know what attitude the advertisers take with respect to the show. The advertiser only pays for people that actually do watch the show. Broadcasters do have huge fixed costs though, I think it may be the affiliates that are the choke point.

I really don't know what faction will win over, but the figures I've seen from an industry person that I trust reasonably well say that ad revenue per episode, per audience member, don't exceed $0.25. Getting $0.70 (their cut of an iTunes purchase) should be a good deal for them. I think what would really open the flood gates is a very positive response, where the increase in purchases far outweigh the reduced price.

If you want to say advertisers own the shows, then it should be easy to point out where Pepsi, Coke or other advertised brands are in the credits. They have influence, yes, ownership, no.
post #30 of 72
You can pick up old season DVD box sets of most TV shows for about $1/episode or less. I can't imagine anyone saying $1 is too cheap. If anything, I'd prefer to buy the DVDs instead (for less) and rip them so that I have a DRM-free source.

Heck, I just picked up the entire Farscape series for like $60 on Amazon... That's $0.68/episode. And I bet the series will display just fine on the iPad after Handbrake is done with it.
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I really don't know what attitude the advertisers take with respect to the show. The advertiser only pays for people that actually do watch the show. Broadcasters do have huge fixed costs though, I think it may be the affiliates that are the choke point.

I really don't know what faction will win over, but the figures I've seen from an industry person that I trust reasonably well say that ad revenue per episode, per audience member, don't exceed $0.25. Getting $0.70 (their cut of an iTunes purchase) should be a good deal for them. I think what would really open the flood gates is a very positive response, where the increase in purchases far outweigh the reduced price.

Yes yes I've heard this hogwash before. Some people just don't understand the reason network television exists...No, it is not because of the shows....it is not just because of the commercials in between, its FOR the commercials in between. The shows are garbage, and it doesn't even matter. They are space filler in between commercials. Then, during the shows, thousands of product placement examples will take place, serving as even more advertising.

The Box in your home with the cable wire going into it serves one purpose, to sell you. Whether it be food, makeup, or news, it is all being sold to you, by some of the scummiest scum on the face of the planet.

So no, sponsors of TV are not about to give up their power. This is evidenced by the insane increase in product/idea/thought/behavior placement throughout network TV in recent years. As more people are watching TV shows without commercials, sponsors are ensuring their "messages" still make their way into subconsciousness everywhere.
post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Isomorphic View Post

You can pick up old season DVD box sets of most TV shows for about $1/episode or less. I can't imagine anyone saying $1 is too cheap. If anything, I'd prefer to buy the DVDs instead (for less) and rip them so that I have a DRM-free source.

Heck, I just picked up the entire Farscape series for like $60 on Amazon... That's $0.68/episode. And I bet the series will display just fine on the iPad after Handbrake is done with it.

The entire series of most TV is available on Hulu for Free the day after it's aired.

You don't have to wait for the entire season to finish for the DVD series and it's free.

This posting is going about as well as the Hulu posting.

Wait, I have to put another $1.00 in my laptop to continue my comment... Wait. This isn't iTunes and it's Free.
post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Yes yes I've heard this hogwash before. Some people just don't understand the reason network television exists...No, it is not because of the shows....it is not just because of the commercials in between, its FOR the commercials in between. The shows are garbage, and it doesn't even matter. They are space filler in between commercials. Then, during the shows, thousands of product placement examples will take place, serving as even more advertising.

The Box in your home with the cable wire going into it serves one purpose, to sell you. Whether it be food, makeup, or news, it is all being sold to you, by some of the scummiest scum on the face of the planet.

So no, sponsors of TV are not about to give up their power. This is evidenced by the insane increase in product/idea/thought/behavior placement throughout network TV in recent years. As more people are watching TV shows without commercials, sponsors are ensuring their "messages" still make their way into subconsciousness everywhere.

Buy a DVR and fast forward the commercials or get up and do something constructive. You really do have choices.
post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

The entire series of most TV is available on Hulu for Free the day after it's aired.

You don't have to wait for the entire season to finish for the DVD series and it's free.

This posting is going about as well as the Hulu posting.

Wait, I have to put another $1.00 in my laptop to continue my comment... Wait. This isn't iTunes and it's Free.

Good for HULU. Some of us would rather pay a little not to have ads. iTunes, and Apple are clearly not for you. Why do you care so much? Move on. You aren't going to convince many here, except the trolls. Have fun with Windows, crappy netbooks and ugly phones and desktops. Some of us prefer style and functionality, over saving a buck.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaHarder View Post

[CENTER]Yes... Yes you can on (truly modern) devices that have feature hardware/software capable enough to support Adobe Flash.

Note: inferior technology need not apply.

[/CENTER]

I don't see how this can work. Suretech heads know you can watch pretty good def from ABC to FX websites, but so don't mom and pops. It's the torrents they don't know about, normally up on the west coast the same day they air and they vary in quality. A xvid is 350MB and with 2000 seeders can be downloaded in less then ten minutes and look great on a 24" HDMI monitor. Or, you can spend an extra half an hour down loading a high def 1.3GB of the same show and you can tell the difference. In fact, 720P looks better than 1080i interlaced and can always spot a 720p. On that size it's the difference between glass or really good quality which is why xvid is so good, due to it's smaller size. I discovered torrents after my wife and I watched all of seasons 1,2,3,4 of ABCs Lost only to see half off 5 was missing. I discovered that was due to ABC releasing the box set in December so we bought a few from iTunes. What was strange was that we could not tell a difference between SD and HD but could on the HDMI line wheras the 720 looked better. Then my neighbor turned me on to torrents. From what I gather, it's not the downloading they really mind, it's when you become part of the seeders, then they mind so if you stop right after downloading, I think that's how they determine. Leeching is when someone is grabbing a movie, which ironically, you become part of the seeding before it's complete unless you have the uploading set at zero. Then after a little while we may forget what happened in a particular NCIS and watch again.

We also have no problem watching it at the website either as you can't beat 5 :15/:30 commercials vs 17 minutes on TV.

The net is the future. In fact my wife and I did a CBS survey that basically said we prefer online and whole episodes not clips. And WHATS with everyone talking About YouTube to the Pro Flash people? You can't watch a TV show in YouTube.

Maybe the dollar thing might work but I fear the studios wint go for it and to some it's to much still. What they should do is offer a months advance before it hits TV, secure it somehow and you'd get a lot of say Lost members buying it for $10.00 for 4 shows. As it gets closer to the end, up the price. For the series finally. Either don't offer it or charge tripple, perhaps $5.00?0
post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegmu View Post

Good for HULU. Some of us would rather pay a little not to have ads. iTunes, and Apple are clearly not for you. Why do you care so much? Move on. You aren't going to convince many here, except the trolls. Have fun with Windows, crappy netbooks and ugly phones and desktops. Some of us prefer style and functionality, over saving a buck.

If you mean poor quality video that I have to go through iTunes to purchase isn't right for me then you are correct. Your posting is genius.

You know better than I do what I really want. Are you Steve Jobs?
post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngusYoung View Post

If you mean poor quality video that I have to go through iTunes to purchase isn't right for me then you are correct. Your posting is genius.

You know better than I do what I really want. Are you Steve Jobs?

Enjoy HULU then. Why do you care that some of us prefer iTunes? You talk about quality, yet watch free, ad-laced, streaming flash content.
Genius, like someone who clearly detests Apple and Apple products who posts on an Apple news/fan site? I'm sure there are some HULU and Windoze fan sites that would love to have you.
post #38 of 72
[CENTER]One thing's for certain...

Comedy Central's Daniel Tosh doesn't appear to have much love for Apple's 'New Creation', or paying for any iTunes sanctioned content, given that he just took a golf club to one on tonight's episode.

Was It Real... or Fake?



[/CENTER]
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post #39 of 72
Jeez, it doesn't help putting the trolls on your ignore list, because people keep quoting them. Can we make a concerted effort to just ignore these morons completely? Perhaps they'll go away and pick on Pre owners instead.
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post #40 of 72
This is for the iPad too, not merely the iPad. Apple want the living room, I think they are trying to sneak in.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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