Apple, Disney close to iTunes rental deal

Report: NBC, Viacom oppose rental plans; CBS wary

Apple is closing in on a deal with the Walt Disney Co. to offer TV shows as 99 cents rentals for 48 hours on Apple's iTunes store, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs sits on Disney's board and is its largest shareholder.

News Corp. is also evaluating Apple's proposal, but a deal still faces various hurdles. Other media and entertainment giants seem to be opposed to Apple's latest attempt to offer TV shows in new ways. According to the Journal, CBS Corp. is looking at the idea, but is unlikely to accept it, while NBC and Viacom have no plans to agree to it.

Media giants are worried about cannibalizing the big revenue stream they get in the form of carriage fees from cable operators and other TV distributors.

The Journal said that Apple has tried to get content giants to sign up to the new proposal before the fall TV season starts and before the expected introduction of  a new device that pushes Internet video content onto TV sets. Apple has told them that the current iTunes offers are too pricey and that content providers could make more money due to higher volume if they lowered prices.

Word of Apple's discussions with entertainment giants about an iTunes rental service first emerged on Tuesday.