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Friday, December 12, 2008

Itunes Store Kills My Incentive for a Cable Upgrade

Cable and Dish networks dangle  HBO, and other premium movie channels to lure us into upgrading our plans, and the new lures are original series,such as  Entourage and Trueblood (which is returning for a second season.)Our appetite for original programming started in the late 90's and early 2000's with the Sopranos, Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm. They're all critically acclaimed, but as more of hit series are placed for sale on the iTunes store, I have enough patience to wait for a series to appear online, (just as I don't mind the wait for the DVD release of hit movie).

For example, I'm a big fan of historical movies and political thrillers, and House of Saddam, which debuted this week, looks like another great mini-series. Instead of paying the additional fees each month, I'll wait to purchase it on iTunes, or  the DVD version.
While I was browsing through the HBO section of iTunes, I noticed that many fans of Entourage were upset about the delayed release of the latest season, which made me wonder, how does HBO decide which series to put on iTunes, and is there a standard timeline? I emailed those questions to HBO spokemsan Jeff Cusson, who said

As far as new or current programming, though there is not a standard timeline and it can vary from show to show, you can assume much of the product will be available in conjuction with the DVD release.


Chris Foresman, a contributing writer for ars technia, pointed out the potential savings if you opt to buy certain series on iTunes, rather than DVD.

You can get the entire Sex and the City oeuvre for about $200 on DVD. That's just a few bucks more than what you would pay via iTunes Store for each individual season. Sopranos, on the other hand, goes for about $520 on Amazon for all 28 discs of the entire six season run. The same show on iTunes, even with paying $2.99 per episode, will only cost $260.



My father is a good example of a somebody who would never watch 90% of the programs on HBO, but was interested in one particular series. He bought the entire 10-disc set of Band of Brothers on Amazon for just $32, just a few bucks more than he would pay in additional fees EACH MONTH for adding HBO and the movie networks package to his cable lineup. Band of Brothers  that has yet to make the transition to iTunes. It's an award-winning series about the European stage of World War 2, and the creators are developing another WW2 series, The Pacific,  which is slated to debut in 2010, (according to Cusson). No info is available on the DVD or iTunes release yet.

I wonder how much of an adverse impact iTunes and DVD have on cable and satellite networks.

By Matt O'Hern at 01:12 PM | Comments (1)

(1) Thoughts on Itunes Store Kills My Incentive for a Cable Upgrade

The issue I have with the premium channels is I really only want to watch a couple of shows. I figured out that to get showtime & HBO just to watch Californication and True Blood I would be paying over $10 an episode and that just isn't going to happen.
The dramatic increase of alternative digital consumption I do believe will force the premium channels to rethink their itunes strategy and start releasing the episodes within a day of airing. The policy of making people wait 12 months to buy it digitally encourages piracy from people who would have otherwise been willing to pay $2.99 an episode.

Comments by Bob Firestone : Monday, July 19, 2010 at 02:19 AM

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