Episodes now available only for purchase
rentals last October on shows from Fox and ABC like “24” and “Desperate Housewives,” it was done to spur interest in the simultaneous deployment of Apple TV, a set-top device that delivered programming to TV sets. But it proved to be a controversial move given that no other studio fell in line behind Fox and ABC as Apple publicly invited them to do upon making the announcement. Introducing Apple TV, former CEO Steve Jobs expressed the hope that other studios “would see the light.” Apple didn’t make the decision to drop the rental option due to studio pressure, according to sources at four different studios who indicated Apple acted on its own, but notified Fox and ABC of its decision before pulling the plug. However, sources also described the 99¢ offering as a failure. The price differential between rental and purchase was so slim that the meager market for TV on iTunes was comprised mostly of diehard fans who were willing to pay a slight premium to own episodes outright.