HBO Wins Flexible Pricing From iTunes

May 13, 2008  •  Post A Comment

HBO became the first programmer to secure flexible pricing on Apple’s iTunes store, in a deal that was officially announced today.
The Apple-HBO deal, which had been speculated about for months, calls for HBO to provide its top-rated series to iTunes beginning today.
“Sex and the City,” “The Wire” and “Flight of the Conchords” are $1.99 per episode, and “The Sopranos,” “Deadwood” and “Rome” are priced at $2.99 per episode.
The HBO deal breaks with the iTunes standard of pricing TV shows at $1.99 per episode.
NBC left iTunes last year in a battle over pricing. NBC said publicly that it wanted more flexible pricing, but that Apple would not allow that. As a pay television network, HBO was likely in a better position to land the pricing terms it wanted.
The deal gives iTunes a boost at a time when some industry experts have wondered about the long-term health of the store, given that broadcast networks are focused on free streaming online and that iTunes does not carry all network content.
HBO’s programming brings a certain cachet to the store, and iTunes is one of the few places besides the linear network where consumers can watch HBO content.
For HBO, the deal signifies the premium network is finally recognizing that consumer behavior is changing and that clinging only to a linear model won’t work for the future.
HBO competitor Showtime has offered its series on iTunes for more than a year; its “Dexter” is currently one of the most popular TV shows on the service.
iTunes has sold more than 150 million episodes of TV shows.
The HBO-iTunes deal comes just days before the release of “Sex and the City: The Movie” on May 30. All 94 episodes of the series are available on iTunes.


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