Apple Aims to Offer TV Programs via iTunes for $30/Month

By Dan Hope Nov 2nd, 2009

Apple redefined the way people purchase music and netted boatloads of money in the process, so it only makes sense that they would want to do the same thing for all kinds of media, including the TV shows you watch. Now Apple is trying to convince TV networks to let them broadcast shows to iTunes users for $30 per month.

Can they pull off a second iTunes revolution?

This has nothing to do with the ability to buy episodes and seasons of popular shows, a feature already built-in to the iTunes Store. This new plan is basically designed to be an Apple cable package with network shows. You'd pay $30 per month for access to programs from a set number of networks that are delivered to you through iTunes whenever you want. Basically, the service would be an extension of the iTunes program already used by millions.

Apple says it has 65 million iTunes customer accounts, so there’s a broad user base to attract networks to the deal. Plus, many people are more accustomed to getting their shows through the internet than the old rabbit-ear antenna anyway.

If Apple manages to make this happen, it could rival the channel packages offered by major cable providers, according to All Things Digital. Apple even plans to have the service ready for consumers by early next year.

It’s not all rainbows and TV-14 signs for Apple just yet. Most of the networks are reluctant to jump in, and all of them seem to be waiting for one of the others to join first. Just as iTunes affected revenue for the music industry, the TV subscription could seriously damage ad revenue that’s already suffering from the effects of the internet. Existing cable networks would also be reluctant to join out of fear that it would damage relationships with the cable providers, like Comcast, that already broadcast their shows for a monthly fee.

Regardless of whether the networks participate in an iTunes subscription or not, the move to streaming video over the internet is going to happen soon. If Apple can’t make it happen next year, it will be a different company shortly thereafter.

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