Almost exactly a year after its introduction, the TV show rental service offered on Apple TV disappeared from users’ options. The rentals also were deleted from the iTunes store.
Apple didn’t go public with the change, but later said in a statement that “iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows.”
The purchase options haven’t changed: TV episodes go for $2 and an extra buck for high(er) definition. Movie rentals will continue.
The Apple TV rentals didn’t compete effectively against Hulu and then Hulu Premium. There was a 30-day “window” for viewing the TV content, meaning fans who missed an episode of their favorite series were still out of luck.
TV rentals didn’t really fit in with Apple’s iCloud storage/streaming activities.
Anyone looking to make impulse buys out of TV archives was much better off with Hulu Premium and Netflix monthly subscriptions, anyway.
The move came in the first week of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s reign. Former Apple chief Steve Jobs had tried to sell the networks on the rental format, with not much success.
Fox, which went along with the rental plan, said: “After carefully considering the results of the rental trial, 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.”
Disney/ABC also partnered with Apple on TV rentals. NBC and CBS were MIA.