Apple Pressuring TV Networks to Halve iTunes Episode Pricing?

Financial Times reports that Apple has been pressuring TV networks to lower their prices for iTunes content, hoping to pass along the savings to customers in order to spur sales. According to the report, Apple has been unhappy with the sales of television content and would like to drop the cost of TV episodes from the current $1.99 to $1 to introduce a new pricing dynamic.

The plan is seen as an integral part of the iPhone maker's strategy for the tablet computer, which it is expected to unveil tomorrow.

However, networks are resisting the move as they fear a repeat of the music industry's pact with Apple in 2003 to sell individual songs for 99 cents on iTunes. The price helped to simplify and boost downloads of digital music but dented album sales .

The report also claims that Apple has primarily been focusing on book and newspaper publishers ahead of the tablet's launch to get them on board, but the TV networks will soon see greater attention as Apple looks to use its tablet as leverage to convince networks to accept lower per-download fees in order to drive increased quantities of downloads.

Apple has also been rumored to be developing a monthly subscription service for a "best of television" package that would offer consumers a variety of content from the networks in what Apple hopes to position as a replacement for traditional cable TV subscriptions.