Thus far, only 2 networks (ABC and FOX) have jumped on board Apple’s $0.99 rental model for individual TV episodes. Meanwhile, executives from both Warner Brothers and NBC Universal have explained that the low price point for individual episodes is not something they’re willing to get behind out of fear that it undermines the quality of their content. And besides, with individual episodes available for purchase for $1.99, some networks are naturally apprehensive about tinkering with the current pricing scheme. Still, and perhaps the networks have already done studies on this, but I’d wager that many folks stay far and away from TV purchases on iTunes precisely because no one really wants to own single episodes of any TV show. And for situations where an episode is missed, it’s easily viewable on a number of places on line. But that’s a debate for another time.
Back to the $0.99 pricing model for individual TV episodes, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauma recently explained at a media conference in New York that $0.99 is simply too low an asking price for content.
“The 99-cent rental is not a good price point,” said Viacom Inc. Chief Executive Philippe Dauman at the conference, which was hosted by Goldman Sachs. “It doesn’t work for us.”
Mr. Dauman noted that Viacom, which owns cable networks like Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, invests heavily to produce its content and plans to increase that investment.
“We value our content a lot,” he said. “We don’t think Apple has it quite right yet.”
Also chiming in was CBS executive Les Moonves, who was a bit more measured in his opposition to individual TV episode rentals on iTunes.
What we said to them—and the Apple guys are terrific and obviously the application is terrific—is let us see what happens,” Mr. Moonves said. “There are two networks in and two networks not in. Let’s see what happens and maybe we’ll talk again in January, maybe we’ll talk again next year.