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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

HBO Shows Will Appear on iTunes, Some at a New Price

Apple has been famously inflexible about pricing on iTunes: TV shows are $1.99, songs 99 cents. (NBC flew the coop last year over Apple's unwillingness to alter that policy.)

So now Apple is changing the rules, to be able to add HBO shows to its library (only when they are released on DVD.)

From the Wall Street Journal's coverage:

    ...It's the first time HBO has agreed to sell downloads of individual episodes of its shows. And Apple, in a departure, has agreed to charge more than its uniform price of $1.99 per television episode. Some of HBO's shows will cost $1.99 per episode while others, including "The Sopranos," "Deadwood" and "Rome," will cost $2.99 per episode.


Variety also has a story. Diane Garrett writes:

    Deal reps HBO's first electronic sell-through pact. The feevee channel has been reluctant to cannibalize its subscription fees and DVD sales. HBO did, however, experiment with free iTunes podcasts of "In Treatment" as a way of boosting the aud of the five-day-a-week skein.

    It’s no coincidence that “Sex and the City” was one of the first HBO skeins to go on sale at iTunes Tuesday; a feature film followup is due in theaters later this month. Eventually, most of the channel's library is expected to go on sale through the iTunes Store.

    Jobs has apparently decided that access to content that will drive hardware sales of iPods, iPhones and Apple TV devices is more important than maintaining rigid pricing. He previously resisted variable pricing on music and TV skeins for the sake of simplicity, although some of the global iTunes Stores do offer variable pricing.

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