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Could Cheap iTunes Rentals Change Television Online?

  • NewTeeVee, Thursday, September 2, 2010 12:21 AM
During the Sept. 1 press event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that 450 million TV episodes, along with 11.7 billion songs, 100 million movies and 35 million books, have been downloaded from the iTunes store, making it the number one digital media store in the world. How will its newly announced 99-cent rental program change the marketplace? It depends on what's on offer, says NewTeeVee.

When we compared Hulu Plus to Netflix Instant during its launch, we found that while the back catalog was comparable, Hulu Plus had Netflix easily beat when it came to new episodes of current shows. Apple's rental program, though, draws from a larger pool of content -- which could be a game changer.

The operative word is "could." Jobs announced that so far, only ABC and Fox have signed up for the 99-cent rental program. While we don't yet know what specific shows will or won't be available for 99 cents, based purely on studio, the below chart indicates that about one-third of the content Hulu Plus is offering this fall won't be available for rental on iTunes. NBC is the clear missing link here, and if it decides to participate in the future, that would put Hulu Plus and iTunes on par with each other.



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