Companies like Hulu and Netflix are pretty steep competition for Apple in the online video services arena. As of right now iTunes users must purchase TV episodes to watch them; prices can be anywhere from 99 cents to upwards of $2.99 per episode. Why spend that much money per show when you have the possibility of streaming it for free on Hulu or just signing up for a Netflix subscription and paying about $9 a month with the ability of watching certain shows instantly or adding others to your queue for no additional cost?
Apple has realized this and three unnamed sources have said the company is in advanced talks with NewsCorp (owners of Fox) to allow user to rent TV episodes from iTunes for 99 cents. The episodes would be available about 24-hours after their original airdate with the rental period being 48 hours. Other networks such as CBS, NBC, and Disney are said to be also participating in these discussions; the latter as a seemingly big possibility as Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder and member of the board.
Apple is said to be making the official announcement a couple of weeks before the start of the new prime time season and at that time will also be announcing new products – including a new iTouch with a more high-resolution screen (better for watching TV shows!). Bloomberg reports that while Fox and ABC are closer to reaching an agreement with Apple, CBS and NBC will most likely not participate in the Sept. 7 announcement and make their episodes available at a later date.