Is Apple skimming dough off AppleTV rentals to cover the price drop?

appletvcut.jpgEveryone was happy to hear that the AppleTV was losing a bit of cost, as it was hard to justify getting one before with the features it offered. Now, however, it’s a much better deal (some disagree) and even my skeptical self is tempted. But whence this discount? The margins are as thin as the skin on my teeth.

Computerworld speculates that since the discount did not extend to the UK and only partially to France, where licensing and fees-for-services are different, that Apple must have fought for an agreement with North American movie biggies to get a slice of every rental in addition to having access to their library.

They run a hard bargain, as AT&T and Cisco can tell you, and it seems likely that something like this is the case. Take a buck off every rental? If someone rents one a week, the discount will pay for itself in a little over a year. Well played, Apple, well played.

Is Apple subsidizing the $70 Apple TV price reduction by taking a cut of movie rentals? [ComputerWorld]