Thursday, February 11, 2010

My 600th Post -- a True Digital Media Update -- Apple, iTunes & TV Pricing

Today marks my 600th post! (I know, a big deal for me only.) And, what better way to mark the occasion than with a true digital media story merging (converging?) content and technology -- in this case, iTunes and TV programming.

Remember, when Apple first launched iTunes? Steve Jobs' central content pricing battle-cry was "Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity! -- one-sized pricing for all tracks ($.99 to be exact) -- anything else is confusing, wrong, and just plain stupid (meaning that all competing services were to be condemned for those attributes). Later, however, content licensing reality set in and iTunes now features tiered pricing for music tracks.

When iTunes first started carrying TV content for pay downloads, that reality was there from the start -- no simplicity (no "one-sized-fits-all" pricing); just reality. Standard definition (SD) programming for most TV episode downloads is $1.99, while HD TV episodes are generally $2.99.

In advance of actual availability of its new iPad, however, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in talks with media companies to lower pricing of SD programming to -- you got it -- $.99 per episode. That wouldn't mean multi-tiered pricing goes away, but it certainly would be greeted by consumers.

Stay iTuned for developments on this front.