updated 01:10 pm EST, Mon November 2, 2009
iTunes TV sub would rival traditional TV
Apple could upturn the entire TV market by offering an iTunes TV subscription service, a prominent rumor says today. iTunes head Eddy Cue is believed to be pitching the idea of a $30 monthly plan that would give users much broader access, much like conventional TV. The exact terms aren't specified by the "multiple" MediaMemo tips but wouldn't confine the service to a single device.
No studios have yet committed to the idea, though Steve Jobs' position on the Disney board would likely help that company's media wing get onboard. Others are believed to be "intrigued" but not yet ready to sign on.
A plan of the sort if implemented with enough studio support would potentially upset the TV industry, particularly online. TV viewing has largely been limited either to per-episode purchases like at iTunes, Vudu or Zune Marketplace or else to streaming and usually free services like Hulu or individual networks' websites. Netflix allows TV viewing through its subscription streams but usually just for a small number of older titles.
Opposition to any deal would most likely come under pressure from traditional cable and satellite providers, either of which stands to lose their traditional, lucrative TV package subscribers to Internet-only accounts. Some have tried to reduce the incentive to move to online-exclusive video by offering Internet video as a bonus while others like Time Warner Cable have been accused of trying to discourage Internet video by trialing tiered services with low caps where they previously offered unlimited service.