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HBO launches on iTunes with variable prices

updated 08:55 am EDT, Tue May 13, 2008

HBO launches on iTunes US

Beating yesterday's predictions by Portfolio, HBO has already launched its programming (iTunes link) on the US iTunes Store. Six TV shows are presently available, including The Wire, The Sopranos, Rome, Deadwood, Flight of the Conchords and Sex and the City. Listings for the shows further confirm that while most episodes are priced at the standard iTunes rate of $1.99, those for Rome, Deadwood and The Sopranos are $2.99 each, marking the first time Apple has allowed variable pricing for TV shows in the US.

It is not however the first time Apple has allowed varied pricing worldwide, as the company recently began selling NBC/Universal programming in such a manner through the UK iTunes Store. This and HBO's deal could foreshadow the return of NBC programming to iTunes US, as one of the primary reasons for the network's departure was said to be Apple's inflexibility in terms of prices. NBC wanted, for instance, to experiment not only with higher prices but episode bundles.

by MacNN Staff





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  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Variable pricing??? You can't have variable pricing? How is anyone supposed to know how much an episode costs? Why should an episode of one show cost more than another show?

    What? Oh, that's the excuse not to have variable pricing for music. I guess TV shows are completely different.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    variable pricing

    so is this like a "s**** you" to nbc and it's zune efforts.

  1. Toyin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Makes some sense

    HBO shows are not free like network TV. You usually have to pay your cable provider to get these shows. For me I'd have to see if it's worth it to get a season pass vs paying a monthly fee for HBO.

  1. Tim_s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Higher NBC Prices

    NBC wanted $4.99 for their crappy shows. That's a bit steep (over $100 for a season for lower quality) considering NBC's overpriced DVD's are around $50 for a season.

    I work for an NBC affiliate, and even I think that's insane. Apple is trying to nurture the download market, NBC is trying to pillage it.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not first time

    "marking the first time Apple has allowed variable pricing for TV shows in the US."

    This is not true. For a long time on the US iTunes store select PBS shows (I think Nova was one of them) had higher pricing. Some as high as $5.99/episode, I think (can't check right now from the computer I'm currently on to verify). I also assume that Apple had a bigger problem with the bundling NBC wanted to do than with the pricing. Also, having two or three pricing tiers is one thing. Letting NBC go crazy and price one show at $1.99 and another at $2.37 and yet another at 2.89 and then the following week reprice everything would be a horrible mess.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    can you take the hint


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