HBO programs may sell on iTunes for more than $1.99


The leading US premium cable channel, HBO, is set to announce a deal with Apple that will see its television programming on iTunes priced at more than the fixed $1.99 according to a Tuesday report in the New York Times.

The network features popular shows such as “Sex in the City” and “The Sopranos”.

Apple has set a standard pricing for all video and music content from the very beginning of the iTunes service, $1.99 and $0.99 respectively. The decision to oppose variable pricing led to intense negotiations with media outlets and caused NBC Universal to withdraw it’s programming last year.

The strict pricing standards Apple had put in place, had stemmed from a desire to create a simpler consumer experience according to Michael Gartenberg, an analyst for JupiterResearch.

“Four or five years ago, when this was a relatively new concept, the idea of keeping prices uniform really helped jump-start the market for online content,” said Mr. Gartenberg. “It’s probably not as important anymore, because it’s not as new anymore.”

The deal with HBO also differs in that episodes would be released on iTunes at the same time they are released on DVD. Many television networks make their episodes available on iTunes the day after they’ve aired on television.

The deal could heat up negotiations between other distributors as their contracts come up for renewal.

“The big question is, will this start to trickle over to other areas of content?,” said Russ Crupnick, a senior industry analyst for the NPD Group. “It could potentially have a huge impact on the music side.”

New York Times


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