But they are still available only for purchase: Apple pulled the rental option on TV episodes from iTunes 8/26. However, the iTunes rental option is still in place on movies. In October last year, launched 99-cent rentals on shows from News Corp. and Disney including Fox’s “24” and ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” in conjunction with the rollout of Apple TV.
“iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” said an Apple spokesperson.
The move comes two days after Tim Cook was named Apple CEO, replacing Steve Jobs, who was named Chairman.
The company has sold episodes of TV shows through iTunes for years for $1.99 to $2.99. The rental service, announced last fall, was an experiment to see if a lower price point would move the needle to encourage sales of Apple TV.
News Corp. said it was working with Apple to make Fox TV shows available in iTunes within the Cloud, the new online service that makes content more portable by storing it online. In its statement 8/26, Apple said the new service lets users “enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose…[however] it became clear that content ownership is a more attractive long-term value proposition both for iTunes customers and for our business. To further enhance the value of ownership, we are working with Apple to make content available within their new cloud-based service.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Obviously, the studios will be happier with move, as they score a higher profit margin on purchases vs. rentals. It also looks like they are encouraging consumers to adopt using Apple’s Cloud service, which will not devour hard-drive space like downloading a bunch of full TV episodes will.