Apple Set to Announce 99-Cent Fox, ABC Rentals

Frothy anticipation about Apple’s event Wednesday has centered on music and expected updates to iTunes and the iPod lineup. But television also is likely to be on the menu.

As part of the Apple event Wednesday, News Corp.’s Fox and Walt Disney’s ABC networks are slated to be announced as offering 99-cent rentals of television shows through the iTunes store, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple said it declined to comment on rumors and speculation.

Now, people who buy TV shows through iTunes to watch on computers, iPhones or other gadgets typically pay $1.99 or $2.99 for each episode. Cutting the cost could significantly increase what so far have been relatively light sales of digital TV shows through iTunes. But that might be a mixed blessing for media companies.

More revenue, of course, always is welcome, but media companies are wary of damaging their business relationships with cable- and satellite-TV companies, which pay billions of dollars a year to license TV channels and beam them into U.S. homes. That’s why several TV companies, including NBC Universal, Time Warner and CBS, for now remain reluctant to side with Apple’s proposal to lower the cost of iTunes TV shows.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

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