Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS all in discussions with Apple on 99-cent TV show rentals
According to the report, Apple has nearly sealed a deal with Fox on 48 hour TV episode rentals. The report also says that CBS, NBC, and Disney (ABC) are also involved in negotiations. One notable board member at Disney is, of course, Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
The report says that Bloomberg's anonymous sources indicate that the episodes will be available withing 24 hours of their broadcast, and will be ad-free. An event is planned for Sept. 7th (Apple typically sends out invitations a week before an event), the sources added.
Because of the state of the negotiations, its possible that only Fox and ABC would appear at the event. CBS and NBC are not as far along as the other two networks.
According to the sources, the new a la carte rental model follows a failed attempt to create a subscription service. That sort of subscription-based iTunes service has been rumored for some time. Reportedly, the subscription service's failure was because the networks didn’t want to endanger revenue that they receive from cable TV providers.
In addition to introducing the new TV episode rental program, the sources said Apple will also introduce a new iPod touch with a higher-resolution screen, similar to the "retina display" on the iPhone 4, as well as a $99 version of its Apple TV set-top box. The new Apple TV box will have a smaller hard drive than the earlier version of Apple TV, which is now 3 years old, and will be designed to let people stream content from iTunes, one source said.