Apple to test $1 TV program price alongside launch of iPadA report indicates that Apple plans on offering individual U.S. TV shows for $1 coinciding with the launch of the iPad in April.
Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that Apple may begin selling some US television shows over iTunes for $1. The pricing test will apply to a limited number of shows in the beginning as a way to test whether reducing the cost of programming increases sales.
The price reduction is expected to begin alongside the retail debut of the iPad in April. According to the Financial Times:
"Some television networks agreed to the lower prices after months of negotiations, and having initially resisted Apples push. Media executives are under pressure from declining DVD sales and cut-rate rental services such as Redbox, that offer rental DVDs for $1."
"It is not yet clear which or how many of the US free-to-air and pay-television networks have agreed to the lower pricing. Some media executives said they have not been approached with the new prices."
Currently, iTunes charges $1.99 for standard definition TV shows and $2.99 for high definition content. Apple is believed to be focusing on standard definition price reductions due to the iPad's 4:3 aspect ratio and non-HD resolution which lends it to standard definition programming.
In late 2009, reports surfaced of an Apple-led push for $30-a-month TV subscription plans via iTunes, but its plan to reduce single-show prices seems to render this less likely.
The Financial Times reports that Apple has been careful to avoid linking its new TV subscription and pricing concepts to its Apple TV set-top device in an attempt to reduce the perceived threat that TV-over-iTunes could pose to traditional TV services.
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