Rupert Murdoch may be swing vote in Apple's 99 cent TV rental pitch

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
While most in the TV industry are opposed to Apple's proposed plan for 99 cent episode rentals, its efforts could be saved by News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch's drive to save the newspaper industry, according to a new report.



According to the Los Angeles Times, content providers NBC Universal, CBS Corp. and Time Warner Inc. have all "dug in their heels in opposition" to Apple's desire to rent TV episodes for 99 cents through iTunes. TV executives reportedly believe that the plan would break the current economic model.



Unsurprisingly, Walt Disney Co., of which Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder, has agreed to go along with the plan.



Still allegedly considering it, however, is News Corp., owner of the Fox network. Authors Dawn C. Chmielewiski and Meg James claim that executives at the media giant are divided, as some are concerned that 99 cent rentals could cut into DVD sales or pull viewers away from watching live network TV.



"But other top officials at News Corp -- especially Murdoch -- are prepared to join Apple's six-month pricing trial because it could cement a relationship with Apple's powerful chief executive, Steve Jobs, and reap benefits for other divisions within the company, namely newspapers," the report said.



"Murdoch, who began his career running small newspapers in Australia, has said that the Apple iPad will rescue old print media by luring readers who will not subscribe to a newspaper. That makes the iPad a keystone in Murdoch's ambition to launch a digital national news product this year."



Previous reports have indicated that Murdoch is pushing for a unique news organization devoted specifically to tablet devices like Apple's iPad. The subscription service is seen by the CEO as an opportunity to help News Corp. transition into the digital era for news. If created, the news organization would have its own staff and be its own, entirely new entity.



As for iTunes video sales, the Times noted that movie and TV purchases have stalled in recent years, as the idea of owning a digital video has not caught on with consumers like owning music has. Apple has reportedly told the TV networks that 99 cent rentals will more than double the transactions.



TV executives, however, feel that a major discount on show rentals "sends the wrong message" when broadcasters have been having cable operators pay for the right to retransmit network TV signals.



"Other major TV producers say privately they fear the industry is about to fall into the same trap as the music industry," the report said. "Faced with burgeoning Internet piracy, music labels struck a deal with Apple to sell 99-cent song downloads in 2003 ? inadvertently torpedoing CDs sales. Warner Bros., for example, refuses to jeopardize its lucrative syndication business, which can haul in an as much as $2 million per episode for the sale of reruns of shows such as "The Big Bang Theory," a comedy it produces for CBS."



The report from the Times also contradicts recent indications that CBS remained in discussions with Apple for 99 cent TV show rentals. A recent report from Bloomberg indicated that Apple and News Corp. were in "advanced talks" to offer the rentals, which would give users 48 hours to watch a program.



Less interested has been NBC, which cable provider Comcast hopes to own, following a federal review. A Comcast-owned NBC is seen as the least likely partner for Apple, as the availability of inexpensive TV show rentals through iTunes could allow some customers to cancel their cable subscription.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    "Other major TV producers say privately they fear the industry is about to fall into the same trap as the music industry,"





    Is this for real
  • Reply 2 of 106
    I find the viewpoint that the online sale of music inadvertently torpedoed CD sales to laughable.



    What torpedoed CD sales was that physical copies of music offer no benefit to downloaded versions. They're more expensive, stores have incomplete selection and I have to drive to get them. This is the same issue that newspapers and books are running into (I know, reading a real book just feels better, but 2x the price better?).



    So, I imagine I'll get mostly agreement on AI's message board, but the TV executives need to realize a la carte pricing is the only business model that will work over time. People don't want crap, and they'll watch some ads, if the product is cheaper, or pay more for ad-free content.



    And if TV goes the way of apps, then they can create engaging content around shows that keep viewers engaged and more passionate about content. And it also democratizes the content so that anyone, a la the podcast universe, can get their product in front of people.



    I can't wait to see what happens over the next 5 years.
  • Reply 3 of 106
    I'd like to know how much money the TV networks make on a per-viewer per-episode basis on regular TV. If they're currently making less than $1 per person in advertising profit then they should clearly take this deal since it would provide them an overall boost in earnings.
  • Reply 4 of 106
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    If Murdoch is involved, I'd rather this effort fail. The man is a parasite and despicable in every sense of the word.
  • Reply 5 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crustyjusty View Post


    I find the viewpoint that the online sale of music inadvertently torpedoed CD sales to laughable.



    What torpedoed CD sales was that physical copies of music offer no benefit to downloaded versions. They're more expensive, stores have incomplete selection and I have to drive to get them. This is the same issue that newspapers and books are running into (I know, reading a real book just feels better, but 2x the price better?).



    So, I imagine I'll get mostly agreement on AI's message board, but the TV executives need to realize a la carte pricing is the only business model that will work over time. People don't want crap, and they'll watch some ads, if the product is cheaper, or pay more for ad-free content.



    And if TV goes the way of apps, then they can create engaging content around shows that keep viewers engaged and more passionate about content. And it also democratizes the content so that anyone, a la the podcast universe, can get their product in front of people.



    I can't wait to see what happens over the next 5 years.



    I don't it laughable at all. What was lost was the sale of the complete album. People are buying 2-3 tracks at a buck a apiece, instead of buying the $12-13 album. I definitely think that is a concern to all music producers.
  • Reply 6 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    If Murdoch is involved, I'd rather this effort fail. The man is a parasite and despicable in every sense of the word.



    Horseshit.
  • Reply 7 of 106
    We are a DVR house and sometimes we need to record/watch more than 2 shows at the same time. Rental would be a big plus. The alternative is grabbing it off a bittorrent site but I'd rather pay a FAIR fee and 99 cents seems fair.
  • Reply 8 of 106
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post


    I don't it laughable at all. What was lost was the sale of the complete album. People are buying 2-3 tracks at a buck a apiece, instead of buying the $12-13 album. I definitely think that is a concern to all music producers.



    the pirates killed the music business

    apple stepped in and gave them a low overhead way to make money again.



    no brick and mortar

    no discs

    no shipping

    no carbon / paper / plastic



    how soon we forget how bad it had gotten !!
  • Reply 9 of 106
    does Appleinsider do anything beisdes copy and paste large chunks of the original source article? I ALWAYS read the source article first, before coming back to AI for the cut up plagiarism they offer up.
  • Reply 10 of 106
    kerrybkerryb Posts: 270member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    If Murdoch is involved, I'd rather this effort fail. The man is a parasite and despicable in every sense of the word.



    Steve don't do it, a deal with Murdock would only help the christain wrong and the republican party.
  • Reply 11 of 106
    timuscatimusca Posts: 120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kerryb View Post


    Steve don't do it, a deal with Murdock would only help the christain wrong and the republican party.



    At least he knows how to spell "Christian". Clearly God has not blessed you with education.
  • Reply 12 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kerryb View Post


    Steve don't do it, a deal with Murdock would only help the christain wrong and the republican party.



    Christians and Republicans don't rent movies?
  • Reply 13 of 106
    iTunes did not destroy CD sales. It was the invention of blank CD's that destroyed music CD sales. Ask anyone who worked at Tower Records before they went bankrupt, and they will tell you that blank CD sales actually SURPASSED music CD sales for many years before iTunes was introduced. Then Napster made getting free music even easier. iTunes actually SAVED the music industry, and finally gave consumers what they wanted: the ability to buy individual songs. Too bad that the greedy music executives -- who make millions of dollars per year for doing nothing except acting as unnecessary middlmen -- don't like it.
  • Reply 14 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kerryb View Post


    Steve don't do it, a deal with Murdock would only help the christain wrong and the republican party.



    Stop by Wikipedia. I'm sure you support something he's a part of. Really hard not to whether you like him or not.
  • Reply 15 of 106
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    If Murdoch is involved, I'd rather this effort fail. The man is a parasite and despicable in every sense of the word.



    I don't like it much either. Murdoch buys too much political influence. His "news" is usually created not reported. I hope I never have to see Glenn Beck selling gold or books by crying on my iPad.
  • Reply 16 of 106
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Any self-proclaimed 'news' organization that manipulates the masses in such an overt way is despicable in my book. Fox News has completely thrown caution to the wind lately with a million dollar donation to the GOP (all in the name of 'business interests of course). No news outlet should cross such lines:



    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11014504



    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot...mosque-planner



    http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2010/0...s-mehlman.html



    http://mediamatters.org/reports/200904080025



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_New..._controversies



    This is one of the largest "news" corporations in American yet they are about the farthest from impartial that I've seen.



    I stand by my statement. Murdock is a parasite.
  • Reply 17 of 106
    since when did this site become a political blog? Get a life.



    For the record, Fox News is the ONLY network that leans to the right. Every other network is clearly left-leaning (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC etc). Can't republicans have ONE channel to turn to and see opinions they agree with? Chill out.
  • Reply 18 of 106
    newtronnewtron Posts: 705member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jlanganki View Post


    I'd like to know how much money the TV networks make on a per-viewer per-episode basis on regular TV. If they're currently making less than $1 per person in advertising profit then they should clearly take this deal since it would provide them an overall boost in earnings.







    Your analysis is unidimensional. There are many, many more factors to consider.
  • Reply 19 of 106
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post


    since when did this site become a political blog? Get a life.



    For the record, Fox News is the ONLY network that leans to the right. Every other network is clearly left-leaning (CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, NBC etc). Can't republicans have ONE channel to turn to and see opinions they agree with? Chill out.



    Any any sane person would view the fact that Fox is the 'only news channel that leans to the right' to mean that Fox is extreme and out of the mainstream since all other news channels would be by definition more mainstream.



    This became a political topic when it involved Murdock since he a highly prominent and political figure. The fact that Apple would do business with this man is reprehensible.
  • Reply 20 of 106
    hundohundo Posts: 6member
    I didn't give up buying CDs until iTunes got rid of the DRM and increased the quality. DRM is the same reason I haven't bought any TV shows or Movies from iTunes. I want personal control over what I purchase. Rentals are a different story. I watch too much TV to spend a dollar per show regularly, but I would definitely rent movies. I might even rent episodes of TV shows I missed, or can't get on Hulu/Netflix. All that aside, I still wish there was hope for a subscription based service so I can give the cable part of my comcast bill the boot.
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