Apple’s Pandora’s Box

May 13, 2008

hbo-itunes.JPGApple’s deal to start selling HBO shows will please fans of “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos.” But will it open up a can of worms when it comes time for renewal talks with other TV show owners?

Since iTunes’s launch, Apple has stuck by a strict policy to keep pricing simple to attract new users. But seven years since its launch, it may be time to tweak the model. For years, content owners have demanded flexible pricing — perhaps charging more for some shows than others. What works for Wal-Mart, where bargain bins overfill with discount DVDs, will work on the Internet’s busiest content storefront.

With the HBO deal, Apple appears willing to explore the time-honored retail concept. A more flexible pricing policy could also bring NBC Universal back to the U.S. store.

Keep an eye on:

  • Fox forms new branch to co-produce, finance and distribute local language films in Japan, Germany, India and Russia. (Hollywood Reporter via Reuters)
  • Clear Channel settlement imminent. (WSJ)
  • Dish Network posts higher profit, but subscriber growth slows. (Reuters)
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