PDA

View Full Version : Apple Seeking Price Cuts on iTunes Television Episodes?




MacRumors
Sep 7, 2007, 01:24 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Variety reports (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117971505.html?categoryid=14&cs=1) that Apple has been looking into cutting prices on TV episodes from the current $1.99/episode down to $.99/episode.
According to three people familiar with the proposal, Apple has told networks and studios that it would like to slash the cost of most TV episodes sold via iTunes from the current $1.99 to just 99 -- the same as what Apple charges for most music singles.

Apple argues that the studios would end up making more money with an increase in volume of sales, but the studios haven't been convinced. One concern raised is that potential impact these prices would have on DVD sales which have traditionally been an important source of revenue for the studios.
Case in point: NBC Universal just released "Heroes" on DVD, with most retail outlets charging about $40 for the set of 23 episodes. If Apple had its way, the same set of episodes would cost less than $23, potentially making the DVD -- despite its myriad bonus features -- less appealing to consumers.

According to insiders, while skeptical of the plan, the studios have not rejected it outright, and acknowledge that "library titles" of older content may make more sense at the lower price. Historically, however, Apple has been insistent on consistent pricing across the board.

The author of the article speculates that Apple and NBC's recent split may have been in part related to some of these issues.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/09/07/apple-seeking-price-cuts-on-itunes-television-episodes/)



drater
Sep 7, 2007, 01:28 AM
its a nice thought for us consumers. However, they probably won't due to your reasons, or they might, because they still would be making a substantial profit because there is no materials, very little labor, etc involved. I'd have to know the margin of profit on both types of distribution. DVDs, inserts, cases, shipping, overhead, etc don't just appear, Downloads are much easier to manage. I would imagine. Who knows, I'm sure the studios make it more difficult than it really is.

Analog Kid
Sep 7, 2007, 01:29 AM
I think they might actually find people buying the iTunes episodes during the season and the DVD later if they price it right. For now, there are shows I won't buy from iTunes because I intend to get the DVDs when they are released, but that forces me to wait much longer than I'd like to.

icetyu
Sep 7, 2007, 01:30 AM
I love the pricing structure of $.99 per episode. Most TV shows are free over the air anyway. I would download a lot more TV shows if Apple can make this happen.

OhEsTen
Sep 7, 2007, 01:33 AM
potentially making the DVD -- despite its myriad bonus features -- less appealing to consumers

If you're really into a show - people will want the DVD for exactly that point - the extras that you don't get through iTunes. Why do most of the studios seem so hesitant with stuff like this? I don't see cheaper iTunes shows cannibalizing DVD sales...

p0intblank
Sep 7, 2007, 01:33 AM
If this happens, I'll be in awe... Not to mention, this is yet another slap in the face for NBC.

BigFatDuck
Sep 7, 2007, 01:35 AM
i think a price drop is necessary. sure, you would be paying less for a season- which is exactly the way it should be considering you're not purchasing a physical product which involves shipping, stocking, manufacturing, etc. as well as having content at lower quality and DRM restrictions without any bonus features. as it stands right now at $1.99 / episode you're paying MORE for the digital version than the DVD set. how exactly does that make sense?

Veldek
Sep 7, 2007, 01:35 AM
At $.99 I'd be really tempted to buy TV shows (as soon as they are here). I think the DVD comparison is flawed, as the DVD quality is higher and therefore wouldn't be too much affected by a cheaper alternative.

nlivo
Sep 7, 2007, 01:36 AM
if this rumor is true i'm not buying any tv shows until it furfills.

irun5k
Sep 7, 2007, 01:41 AM
I think demand would DEFINITELY increase at .99, in fact it would probably more than double, leading to greater profits than before.

1.99 isn't a lot of money, really... but it is NOT the sweet spot for something that people can legally get for free via live broadcast, recorded broadcast, or the network's own web site.

For many people, you're paying 2 bucks for a one time watch. I might listen to a song I buy 1000 times over my lifetime, but chances are once I watch an episode of a TV series I follow, I wouldn't watch it again.

I realize there are people who buy DVDs of the whole series. Maybe there is a whole part of the market that I'm miscalculating.... but how well do these DVD sets sell? Is it a niche market, or something that is totally on fire?

EricNau
Sep 7, 2007, 01:42 AM
I still can't see myself purchasing any TV shows from iTunes. ...Basically, many of the TV shows available on iTunes can be watched on any TV with rabbit-ears for free. Then, if I miss a show many networks offer online streaming (ABC offers full episode streaming in HD!).

I realize that iTunes videos can come in handy when away from home, but for me, the only time I have to watch TV is when I'm already at home.

jbernie
Sep 7, 2007, 02:01 AM
I dont have a video iPod and really don't have any intrerest in buying tv shows through iTunes so i am not exactly the person they are aiming it with price cuts and all....however....

If the iTunes version is at a lower resolution, and does not include any of the extra you would get with a DVD set ie director & actor commentary, alternate endings and other such stuff, the true fans will always be wanting to get the DVD set.

For the casual viewer who has no long term desire for buying a DVD set just to have it sit on a bookshelf etc, then $1.99 per episode probably isn't the best price, more than likely they can wait for reruns or read the spoilers online. At 99c an episode I would be expecting a lot more people to download tv shows, or alternately, the current buyers are more likely to pick up more episodes as they are cheaper.

For someone who might be interested in a show, $1 can make a difference in whether or not they jump in and buy an episode. Also, for the buyers are aren't exactly flush with $$$ ie college students, that kind of a discount can be very very appealing. To the point they could not only buy an episode but maybe also pick up a song played during the episode as well.

Personally I would place more value on a song than a tv show as i am more able to listen to a song than i am to watch a show. Also, most people will listen to songs more times than they would watch an tv show.

donlphi
Sep 7, 2007, 02:04 AM
99 cents? I would buy multiple seasons at a time. :D

The thing is, and I'm sure others have done this too, I have "MULTI-purchased" on many occasion on iTUNES. I wanted to hear a song at work and I didn't own it so I bought it on iTUNES. Then I was on my home computer, and wanted to hear the same song again, and I didn't have access to it on my home computer, so I bought it again rather than waiting till the next day to copy the tune. After all, it's just 99 cents.

I could see that making them TONS of money. I could also see them selling a lot more crappy re-runs. The munsters? Who is buying the munsters for 1.99 an episode?

Imagine if they let you burn the season for a small fee. That would be cool too.

Imagine what it could potentially do to the cable industry? Buy a season for $15 bucks. I'm sure I could buy all of my favorite shows throughout the year for less than what I have been paying for cable in one month. I would just need to get my local news (antenna). Done...

bilbo--baggins
Sep 7, 2007, 02:06 AM
They should get UK prices inline with the US first. The TV episode price in the UK is 1.89 including VAT which works out at $3.23 at todays exchange rate EXCLUDING tax.

A complete rip off. This works out far more expensive than buying DVD's.

blehpunk
Sep 7, 2007, 02:12 AM
yay, and please make it hd, or at least apple tv should upconvert, then im not getting any kind of cable and just buying my shows instead.

FangRock
Sep 7, 2007, 02:15 AM
They should get UK prices inline with the US first. The TV episode price in the UK is 1.89 including VAT which works out at $3.23 at todays exchange rate EXCLUDING tax.

A complete rip off. This works out far more expensive than buying DVD's.

I agree - buying TV episodes from iTunes UK is a complete no no at that price.

Chaszmyr
Sep 7, 2007, 02:15 AM
Lately I started buying TV shows on iTunes, but it does seem a bit pricey. If it was 99 cents per episode, or even $1.49 per episode, I think I'd definitely be more inclined to buy shows.


Edit: It's more an issue with some shows than others. For many shows, buying a season on iTunes costs as much as on DVD, and for some it costs even more. Shows on iTunes should always, always cost less than DVDs, as the distributor need not pay for packaging, and iTunes currently sells lower quality video than is found on DVD.

fastbite
Sep 7, 2007, 02:23 AM
99 cents sounds great to me - the problem is that I'm in the UK and here the prices for the very few shows (so far) are crazy!

extensor
Sep 7, 2007, 02:26 AM
The studios also need to take into account that a low cost video playing ipod is just now coming out. So the number of people looking for video content is gonna skyrocket.

nickane
Sep 7, 2007, 02:39 AM
when will the studios realize that these files aren't the same as what they sell on dvd/cd?

mugwump
Sep 7, 2007, 02:54 AM
Ratings would more than double.

onionperson654
Sep 7, 2007, 02:55 AM
At $.99 an episode, I'd buy all availible TV shows that I wanted to watch on my computer or (soon to be) iPod Touch and not worry about obtaining them from "other sources" or ripping from DVDs like those from Netflix.

At face value, $1.99 for a 40 minute video seems like more of a deal than $.99 for a 4 minute song, but while you're only likely to watch the video once, if you listen to the song 5 times ever than you've paid the same amount per minute used.

DVDs also have the advantage of:
a) being better quality (and being able to shrink quality easier for more space on ipod touch and iphone.
b) having a physical product to hold on to (many tv shows would be discarded and can't easily (if at all) be reloaded) and the pleasure of buying a physical product (although that comes with the annoyance of the physical medium).
c) Having the option for extras, subtitles, foreign languages, etc.
d) Being better as gifts
e) Working with most people's TVs very easily


Perhaps a pilot program would be a good idea (as long as its advertised), and while it sure makes sense to pay less for old TV shows (although they are harder to download "elsewhere") most people are looking for new shows.

As it is, I'm not having a great time burning lost episodes from netflix, and considering its $35 for 25 Lost episodes, I may try that. If they were $25, however, I would be a non-issue.

armhol
Sep 7, 2007, 03:18 AM
They should get UK prices inline with the US first. The TV episode price in the UK is 1.89 including VAT which works out at $3.23 at todays exchange rate EXCLUDING tax.

A complete rip off. This works out far more expensive than buying DVD's.

Here here! You beat me to it, this was my thought exactly. Think about this, if the price does drop to $.99 thats about 50p, so we would have to pay nearly 3.8 times as much as in the US! RIP OFF!

Yvan256
Sep 7, 2007, 04:59 AM
Now, if only TV shows were available for us Canadians... :rolleyes:

At 99 cents per episode, I would gladly exchange my future cable/satellite (which I still haven't got one month after moving, being summer and all) for season passes (at 99 cents/episode) of the shows I watch (and yes that would have included Battlestar Galactica and Heroes).

So, if anyone is reading this and taking decisions :
- bring movies and TV shows to Canada already!
- at 99 cents/episode, you can bet that a lof of people will start exchanging their cable/satellite for the iTunes Store
- bring movies rental at reasonable prices with decent DRM (no "watching X times" insanity, etc)

Imagine being on the road, getting at a Wi-Fi hotspot and getting your TV shows and renting a movie on your iPod touch while on the road for a vacation. :cool:

P.S.: before anyone says "0.99$ CAD is even cheaper", it may not be for much longer... (http://www.x-rates.com/d/USD/CAD/hist2007.html) ;)

BoyBach
Sep 7, 2007, 05:09 AM
I don't know why some of us Brits are complaining about 1.89 per episode... (http://www.hmv.co.uk/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=285;5;-1;-1&sku=668518)

Talk about 'Rip-off Britain'.

:rolleyes:

Hattig
Sep 7, 2007, 05:25 AM
I'm presuming that they will come to a compromise price of $1.49 here. That will be roughly in line with the DVD price in the states, taking into consideration that the quality is lower with iTunes, and there are no extras.

Personally I think that in the month following a show's premiere, the price can be much higher due to consumer demand (if they missed the show), and because it is new. $1.99 or even $2.99 makes sense for a one-off episode.

Older content should be cheaper. Content purchased as a season should be cheaper (and take into consideration single episodes purchased before, so the overall price is not affected). Basically the cost of buying a season on iTunes should be slightly lower than the cost to buy the DVD box set at the same time.

Now in the UK, when a new season DVD comes out, it's far more expensive. Battlestar Galactica Season 3 - RRP £50, available for £35. $70. $3.50 per episode (albeit including 17.5% tax). So I think that people should quit moaning so much.

ccunning
Sep 7, 2007, 05:36 AM
so its fair that because we're able to afford higher prices we should pay them for exactly the same product??? because we're british?!

Basically yeah. Same reason you pay 5 for a ****ing BLT at Heathrow and it would cost $5 at Dulles.



Anyway, I think 99 shows will work only if they make available premium versions in HD for $1.99 or maybe even $2.99

zedsdead
Sep 7, 2007, 05:38 AM
This would be nice, yes...due to the less quality and lack of bonus features...of course, this could pave the way for the damn HD downloads at a decent price.

Swift
Sep 7, 2007, 05:42 AM
This is the way the studios should be going. Sales volume would more than double. The resolution is only 640 x 480, after all, not the 720 x 480 of a standard DVD. (In the U.S., of course -- I'm not sure what it is in PAL-land. 720 x 576?) It looks small, but it's significant, especially when you know that you're also dealing with a lower bitrate mpeg 4 compression. Plus, the copy protection, which you don't have if you record the program on a TiVo, and you can't burn it to DVD.

So how about this? Release the whole season in HD-DVD or Blu-Ray -- oops, can't get the volume yet, because the players are still too expensive for mere mortals, and no one want to buy the player that loses. First of all, studios, settle on a favorite instead of acting like idiots. But until then, release the full season on DVD the night of the finale. Put a little button on the show's page, selling it for the usual price, but discounted by the amount that you've spent on the series on iTunes! So, you watch the last breathtaking, hysterically funny episode, and then watch as people click the "order the DVD" button. Better still: release it in Hi-Def, and charge more.

Or, you can take the NBC route: go to the Undead at Unbox and charge what you want.

Project
Sep 7, 2007, 05:44 AM
So far I have refrained at buying iTunes TV shows, but Id bite at that price.

netdog
Sep 7, 2007, 05:47 AM
This would quickly transform the AppleTV from a hobbyist item to a killer piece of hardware. I love mine already, but 99-cent shows would give a lot of people incentive to get an AppleTV.

Project
Sep 7, 2007, 05:54 AM
Also regarding the US//UK price comparisons; you cant base it on the exchange rate because it fluctuates and is volatile.

A better way to work it out is to see what % a $1.99 show makes up of the average US income, and what % a 1.89 show makes of the average UK income. Its about relative expense, not absolute expense based on currency rates.

em500
Sep 7, 2007, 06:04 AM
Here here! You beat me to it, this was my thought exactly.

The expression is "hear, hear" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hear_hear). "Here, here" is what you would say to a dog :D

SthrnCmfrtr
Sep 7, 2007, 06:53 AM
Prices for TV shows and movies are silly. Ideally, a song would be $.50, a TV show $1, and a movie $2. Not that any of the content producers would ever go for that, because they're short-sighted fools who prefer to bitch about piracy and prosecute the symptoms rather cure the root cause. They need to break the 50-100% markup exerted on the consumer by retailers, which doesn't help them anyway, and transition to a more efficient means of distribution. There's nothing but good that would come from this.

thomasfxlt
Sep 7, 2007, 07:01 AM
$.99 is a great idea. Most of the programming on network TV isn't worth anything, so any price reduction is a good concept. The networks should take it and run.

twoodcc
Sep 7, 2007, 07:04 AM
I really think sales will go up big time

koobcamuk
Sep 7, 2007, 07:18 AM
I wonder if they will change the UK TV shows to 50p? I doubt it very much. Aren't they like 1.89 now or something sick? (over $3)

koobcamuk
Sep 7, 2007, 07:21 AM
I don't know why some of us Brits are complaining about 1.89 per episode... (http://www.hmv.co.uk/hmvweb/displayProductDetails.do?ctx=285;5;-1;-1&sku=668518)

Talk about 'Rip-off Britain'.

:rolleyes:

What? You're saying that $6 is good for 1 episode? People here download that stuff... no one will buy that... I hope!!!

thegrifman
Sep 7, 2007, 07:22 AM
but we simply won't purchase these shows if we're not going to be charged in line with our friends from across the pond.

Simple supply and demand. If Brits are willing to pay more for the same product then they're going to be charged more.

X38
Sep 7, 2007, 07:26 AM
They are correct that everyone would make more money at $0.99. When they first started selling TV shows a $1.99, I bought one just for the novelty of it. I have not bought any since and won't buy any more because there just aren't any that are worth $1.99 per episode to me. At $0.99 I would definitely buy a few. At $0.50 I would buy a lot.
The choice is theirs; they can have some of my money or none of my money, but there is no way they are going to get $1.99 / episode worth of my money.

Curtis72
Sep 7, 2007, 07:31 AM
Even at 99 I won't buy any more TV shows that I have which is only two episodes of My Name is Earl (because my DVR screwed up) and a season of anime TV show. Rest of the TV shows were stuff I recorded using EyeTV or free stuff on iTunes (and that was only to test the download speeds to my Apple TV).

tribulation
Sep 7, 2007, 07:31 AM
$1.99, .99, .50, whatever. It's all so useless and unneeded. As so talked about by myself and others, when i want to watch TV, i don't want to sit there and keep a running total of my shows. The ability of cable TV --> to browse channels and tons of shows along with Tivo, makes iTunes TV shows completely useless and expensive.

For those few that will chime in and say they only watch 2 shows, that's fine. Apple can and should keep the per-episode fee for people like that. But for people that watch lots of cable, or even just a few series every week (Plus local news, etc), an iTunes TV subscription service would be the only solution. I'd gladly drop my cable subscription and join Apple's if they were to do this.

Cable is already moving rather quickly (for the cable industry) into on-demand tv services for single shows and so on. Apple could still get their foot in the door and be first and rule the industry with a subscription service; of course that is reasonably priced - even if that means equal to current cable tv rates.

But until I can browse through channels and not just buy a single show here or there and keep a calculator next to the remote, it won't do. If they wait too long, the cable co's will leave no room within a few years.

ariel
Sep 7, 2007, 07:35 AM
Brilliant move - volume would definitely increase and i'd buy more shows... can't justify $2 for one watch at this point but would watch more at $1 a pop.

ShavenYak
Sep 7, 2007, 07:55 AM
One concern raised is that potential impact these prices would have on DVD sales which have traditionally been an important source of revenue for the studios.
Case in point: NBC Universal just released "Heroes" on DVD, with most retail outlets charging about $40 for the set of 23 episodes. If Apple had its way, the same set of episodes would cost less than $23, potentially making the DVD -- despite its myriad bonus features -- less appealing to consumers.

Well, the DVD is higher resolution and has bonus features, packaging with artwork, and is easier for the average Joe to watch on his TV (remember, the device that was designed to view TV shows?). So the iTunes episodes should be cheaper than the DVD. The current situation where the downloads cost substantially more than the DVD is probably significantly discouraging sales on iTunes, and it's possible that the increased volume of downloads would make up for any loss of DVD sales.

The author of the article speculates that Apple and NBC's recent split may have been in part related to some of these issues.

Well, that's the first thing I thought when I saw the headline, too.

nbs2
Sep 7, 2007, 08:02 AM
If you're really into a show - people will want the DVD for exactly that point - the extras that you don't get through iTunes. Why do most of the studios seem so hesitant with stuff like this? I don't see cheaper iTunes shows cannibalizing DVD sales...

And at that point DVD sales are cannibalized. Look at the looky-loos who aren't sure what to do. Before, the cost of the DVD was so close, that it was worth it to just by the stupid box. Drop to 99, and a lot of casual users will just buy the show off of iTunes. DVD sales drop, and profits are lost...

i think a price drop is necessary. sure, you would be paying less for a season- which is exactly the way it should be considering you're not purchasing a physical product which involves shipping, stocking, manufacturing, etc. as well as having content at lower quality and DRM restrictions without any bonus features. as it stands right now at $1.99 / episode you're paying MORE for the digital version than the DVD set. how exactly does that make sense?

...but you are getting the episode soon after airing rather than waiting until 9/4 for The Office Season 3 and I'm-still-not-sure for BSG Season 3. That's a big thing for a lot of people. My wife is going to miss the season premiere of the Office and until the NBC thing shook out, was planning on buying it off of iTunes (would have done so even if they had split the hour into two episodes).

If this happens, I'll be in awe... Not to mention, this is yet another slap in the face for NBC.

Why? :confused:

BKKbill
Sep 7, 2007, 08:03 AM
Also regarding the US//UK price comparisons; you cant base it on the exchange rate because it fluctuates and is volatile.

A better way to work it out is to see what % a $1.99 show makes up of the average US income, and what % a 1.89 show makes of the average UK income. Its about relative expense, not absolute expense based on currency rates.

Your analogy doesn't quite hold up it the real world. I understand exchange rates fluctuate and are volatile but if you compare average income percentages then in Thailand a TV show would cost .04

Craiger
Sep 7, 2007, 08:03 AM
I would definitely buy more TV shows at that price! 1.99 adds up really fast. More than anything though, I want some HD content. I'm in college so we have a lil 20 TV in our dorm, but I have this beautiful 20" imac that HD would look amazing on!!

I have tried ABC's stream, but right now they have a grand total of four shows on there with only 1 episode per show. Maybe it will get better this fall.

Well there is my 2 cents, off to class...

bdj21ya
Sep 7, 2007, 08:04 AM
I would love it if they would offer the option to "rent" the show at a lower price. All I need the show for is for maybe about 2 days to watch it with my family. I don't watch TV shows again. It's all too familiar the second time around.

notjustjay
Sep 7, 2007, 08:06 AM
Yeah, I'd start buying a lot more TV shows too.

Consider House. I'm just discovering this great show. To buy season 3 on DVD costs about $50. To buy all 24 episodes on the iTune store at $1.99 currently costs $48. Hmm. Decisions, decisions - do I want the higher-resolution version on physical media with bonus features, for the same price? Of course I do.

But at $0.99, I'd probably buy them now, watch just to get caught up on the soap opera bits in time for Season 4 to start in a few weeks, and then worry about buying the DVD later.

I suspect I'd start thinking that way for a lot of shows.

But right now, I don't buy TV shows, because I keep thinking, "Well, if I end up really liking it, I should just buy the DVD set at about the same price".

ShavenYak
Sep 7, 2007, 08:09 AM
Here here! You beat me to it, this was my thought exactly. Think about this, if the price does drop to $.99 thats about 50p, so we would have to pay nearly 3.8 times as much as in the US! RIP OFF!

I'm sure they'd drop your price substantially at the same time, probably to 89 or 99p. Still not ideal but.... You know, it's not Apple's fault that the US dollar is worthless and the pound is strong. If you lot had switched to the Euro like everyone else you wouldn't be having this "problem". :D

bdj21ya
Sep 7, 2007, 08:10 AM
Your analogy doesn't quite hold up it the real world. I understand exchange rates fluctuate and are volatile but if you compare average income percentages then in Thailand a TV show would cost .04

I can't believe you're doing the math right on this one, so help convince me.

What you're saying (if you understood the post you were replying to) is that $1.99/(Average U.S. income) = ($.04/(average Thai income)).

If that's the case, I'm moving to Thailand, they sound rich. Exchange rates are not a terrible measure just because they are volatile. They are a bad measure because they don't tell you anything about purchasing power. If you're using the exchange rate to convert the price of shows in Thailand (I'm not sure how you're doing this, since I didn't know iTunes offered TV shows in Thailand) then it falls apart. The idea was to use only local income vs. local price of iTunes tv show to better measure the fairness.

bdj21ya
Sep 7, 2007, 08:13 AM
[QUOTE=nbs2;4147129]And at that point DVD sales are cannibalized. Look at the looky-loos who aren't sure what to do. Before, the cost of the DVD was so close, that it was worth it to just by the stupid box. Drop to 99, and a lot of casual users will just buy the show off of iTunes. DVD sales drop, and profits are lost...



...but you are getting the episode soon after airing rather than waiting until 9/4 for The Office Season 3 and I'm-still-not-sure for BSG Season 3. That's a big thing for a lot of people. My wife is going to miss the season premiere of the Office and until the NBC thing shook out, was planning on buying it off of iTunes (would have done so even if they had split the hour into two episodes).QUOTE]

Thank you for making some sense. Just to make sure everyone knows, the premiere will probably be available on iTunes, I suspect Apple will honor their portion of this contract through December (why go to court over this or have to pay NBC a settlement?)

Scott982
Sep 7, 2007, 08:14 AM
If the price dropped to $0.99 then I would probably start buying shows from iTunes but as of now I would rather purchase shows in HD from the xbox live marketplace.

phytonix
Sep 7, 2007, 08:17 AM
I would definitely buy more if they slash the price. I usually watch TV episodes once. $1.99 for watching it once is too much. That's why I only buy TV episodes, normally, in the airport while I have hours of lay over.

ShavenYak
Sep 7, 2007, 08:24 AM
This is the way the studios should be going. Sales volume would more than double. The resolution is only 640 x 480, after all, not the 720 x 480 of a standard DVD.
It's even worse for widescreen shows - the download is 640x360 I think. At least they aren't still 320x180 like they were before the 5.5G iPod and :apple:TV came out.

It looks small, but it's significant, especially when you know that you're also dealing with a lower bitrate mpeg 4 compression. Plus, the copy protection, which you don't have if you record the program on a TiVo, and you can't burn it to DVD.
But, MPEG-4 is more efficient than MPEG-2, and DVDs of TV shows are typically encoded at very low bitrates to fit the episodes onto as few discs as possible. I think if Apple gave us DVD resolution and bumped the bitrate up in proportion to the resolution increase, the shows would look just as good.

Or, you can take the NBC route: go to the Undead at Unbox and charge what you want.
Yep, I'm sure they're going to do so much better selling their shows at higher prices on an inferior service. :rolleyes:

ShavenYak
Sep 7, 2007, 08:31 AM
I can't believe you're doing the math right on this one, so help convince me.

What you're saying (if you understood the post you were replying to) is that $1.99/(Average U.S. income) = ($.04/(average Thai income)).

If that's the case, I'm moving to Thailand, they sound rich.

You're the one who's not doing the math right. If the US price is 50x the hypothetical Thai price, the average US income must be 50x the average Thai income. If the average US income was $30k/yr, the average Thai income the original poster used for the calculation would be $600/yr. That's not rich by any standard except maybe some of the sub-Saharan countries.

atari1356
Sep 7, 2007, 08:33 AM
At $0.99 an episode I would definitely buy shows... especially Heroes (but I guess not anymore since NBC isn't going to be on iTunes any more :()

$1.99 per episode is too much, I'd rather just wait for the DVD since it's of better quality and has bonus features.

jgerry
Sep 7, 2007, 08:50 AM
I think $.99 per episode is the sweet spot. Good luck convincing the content producers though.

Along with the $.99 price point, I still want a discount if I buy a whole season ahead of time. I'd also like to see a 720p HD version for that price, but I'd settle for $1.49. It's getting ridiculous that there's no HD downloads yet.

motulist
Sep 7, 2007, 08:56 AM
I would love it if they would offer the option to "rent" the show at a lower price. All I need the show for is for maybe about 2 days to watch it with my family. I don't watch TV shows again. It's all too familiar the second time around.

Hear hear! If they made 2 day rentals and priced it low enough that I didn't even need to think about it, then they'd make a TON of money! If they made it like 15 cents per rented episode then i'd constantly be renting tv shows and giving them tons of my money - as opposed to now, where I dl tv shows and they get zero cents per episode from me.

nickane
Sep 7, 2007, 09:01 AM
Also regarding the US//UK price comparisons; you cant base it on the exchange rate because it fluctuates and is volatile.

A better way to work it out is to see what % a $1.99 show makes up of the average US income, and what % a 1.89 show makes of the average UK income. Its about relative expense, not absolute expense based on currency rates.

Aside from the Thailand argument stated earlier, those prices still wouldn't be in line if apple was following your pricing strategy. It's no coincidence, that the US-UK % difference on these TV shows is far greater than that on ipods, macs and displays.

Yes, we do earn much more money than ppl in most other countries, especially the US lately, since the dollar longsince slipped from 0.70 to 0.49, but both then and now, $30000 gross annual income could probably buy as much if not more than 30000 gross annual income in our respective countries, and if the pound is now worth far more than $1.40, that fact can't be explained away by talk of VAT and higher income tax.

Petrol doesn't even come into it tho, US petrol is cheap because it is vital to the economy that transport costs remain low in such a big, spread-out country (and the fact that the people who run the US all run a few oil firms on the side means they have a vested interest in setting taxes low enough to keep the nation happily using way more than they need to, as LA Story pointed out so hilariously all those years ago).

Zadillo
Sep 7, 2007, 09:02 AM
I think this is the fundamental problem with their logic.

They seem to be saying that the only way to ensure that people value the DVD boxset is to make sure that the cost of buying the episodes individually online isn't much cheaper.

But I don't think this really works. Right now, I'm not inclined to pay $2 an episode for exactly that reason - because I know that for that money, I might as well wait and buy the DVD when it comes out.

But at 99 cents an episode, it would be cheap enough that I could more easily justify the expense, and I'd STILL be willing to fork over money for the full DVD when it came out.

With the downloadable episodes, you aren't getting the same quality, or the same bonus features.

I think the ideal situation, and what the networks should be hoping for, is this:

1) Consumer pays 99 cents to purchase individual episodes as they air. After a 23 episode season, they have paid $23....... about half the price of the DVD boxset.

2) When the DVD boxset comes out, the consumer thinks to themselves "Hrmm, I really liked that show, I'd like to own it on DVD and have the higher quality, extras, etc. I only paid $23 to buy the individual episodes, so it doesn't seem so bad".

This is much better I think than the alternative - a consumer who has maybe paid $46 for the downloadable episodes, but then doesn't want to buy the DVD because they know they already paid the same amount.


-Zadillo

Epicurus
Sep 7, 2007, 09:07 AM
Since I was never one to buy TV shows a la carte anyway, the per unit cost hasn't been $1.99 for me for a while. At $34.99 for 21 episodes, Scrubs only cost $1.67 per unit. At $9.99 for 16 episodes, The Daily Show was even cheaper at $0.62.

Now if Apple drops the price to $0.99 for all the standard definition shows they've got on the store now and keeps the $1.99 price point for HD shows... then I'm hooked on digital and DVD/Blu-Ray/HD-DVD will be long forgotten! :D

BKKbill
Sep 7, 2007, 09:10 AM
I can't believe you're doing the math right on this one, so help convince me.

What you're saying (if you understood the post you were replying to) is that $1.99/(Average U.S. income) = ($.04/(average Thai income)).

If that's the case, I'm moving to Thailand, they sound rich. Exchange rates are not a terrible measure just because they are volatile. They are a bad measure because they don't tell you anything about purchasing power. If you're using the exchange rate to convert the price of shows in Thailand (I'm not sure how you're doing this, since I didn't know iTunes offered TV shows in Thailand) then it falls apart. The idea was to use only local income vs. local price of iTunes tv show to better measure the fairness.

No what I'm saying is what % a $1.99 show makes up of the average US income (.00461 in 2003 $43,318), and what % a $.04 show makes of the average Thai income($2,453 not sure the year). It really comes to about $.11 if you go by % of annual income. Or as you said "if you understood the post you were replying to"

jackc
Sep 7, 2007, 09:13 AM
House rules! I agree, at $0.99, the decision to buy is a lot easier. I don't think it'll happen, but it would be nice.

Yeah, I'd start buying a lot more TV shows too.

Consider House. I'm just discovering this great show. To buy season 3 on DVD costs about $50. To buy all 24 episodes on the iTune store at $1.99 currently costs $48. Hmm. Decisions, decisions - do I want the higher-resolution version on physical media with bonus features, for the same price? Of course I do.

But at $0.99, I'd probably buy them now, watch just to get caught up on the soap opera bits in time for Season 4 to start in a few weeks, and then worry about buying the DVD later.

sterno74
Sep 7, 2007, 09:14 AM
This explains Apple's claims that NBC wanted to double prices. No, NBC didn't want to double prices, NBC just didn't want to HALVE prices. That's a ridiculous bit of spin on Apple's part.

Consultant
Sep 7, 2007, 09:15 AM
Hear hear! If they made 2 day rentals and priced it low enough that I didn't even need to think about it, then they'd make a TON of money! If they made it like 15 cents per rented episode then i'd constantly be renting tv shows and giving them tons of my money - as opposed to now, where I dl tv shows and they get zero cents per episode from me.

The thing is credit card companies usually charge 20 to 30 cents per transaction + a percent of the charge. So individual price of 15 cents will not happen.

Darkroom
Sep 7, 2007, 09:16 AM
NBC (and others) don't seem to understand modern living. who watches TV anymore? it's either TiVo or Torrents... i downloaded the entire season of Heroes (thinking i should probably check out what all the fuss is about)... but if each episode was $0.99 via iTunes, i probably would have bought the season instead of steal it (although "steal it" is a bit of an overstatement, since NBC aired it for free previously)...

as for owning the season on DVD... sure, that would be nice... if i was like a big fan of the show (which i'm not after watching the season)... DVD seasons are collectors items... and they're also like physical music CDs... NBC needs to look closer at all the music sales iTunes manages...

NBC (and others) also need to realize that myself and millions of others are a modern audience... we don't watch TV, we watch the internet.

jackc
Sep 7, 2007, 09:20 AM
This explains Apple's claims that NBC wanted to double prices. No, NBC didn't want to double prices, NBC just didn't want to HALVE prices. That's a ridiculous bit of spin on Apple's part.

I don't think that's quite what happened. NBC was talking about how it wanted to bundle shows together.

Consultant
Sep 7, 2007, 09:21 AM
This explains Apple's claims that NBC wanted to double prices. No, NBC didn't want to double prices, NBC just didn't want to HALVE prices. That's a ridiculous bit of spin on Apple's part.

No, NBC wanted "flexible" pricing. Think about it, would NBC's reason for flexible pricing is for them to make less money? NBC wanted to CHARGE MORE for their better watched shows. (Just like music companies wanted to charge $3, $4 for a hit single).

Unspeaked
Sep 7, 2007, 09:27 AM
For once, I think the networks are right on...

Look at CDs - they've stayed the same price (if not less) than iTunes prices. If they cost twice as much as downloads, it would be suicide for the record industry, even worse than it now!

I think the folks saying they'd buy 99 cent downloads AND the DVD later down the line are in the minority...

Zadillo
Sep 7, 2007, 09:27 AM
NBC (and others) don't seem to understand modern living. who watches TV anymore? it's either TiVo or Torrents... i downloaded the entire season of Heroes (thinking i should probably check out what all the fuss is about)... but if each episode was $0.99 via iTunes, i probably would have bought the season instead of steal it (although "steal it" is a bit of an overstatement, since NBC aired it for free previously)...

as for owning the season on DVD... sure, that would be nice... if i was like a big fan of the show (which i'm not after watching the season)... DVD seasons are collectors items... and they're also like physical music CDs... NBC needs to look closer at all the music sales iTunes manages...

i'm a modern being... i don't watch TV, i watch the internet.

Yeah, this is the big thing. So far, Apple has been almost always right when it comes to pricing.

We can argue endlessly about what prices various parties want (obviously the music labels and studios and everyone else would love to charge much more for their content), but the thing is, they are competing against freely available downloads of stuff.

I've heard so many people who say that they used to download music from Kazaa, etc. but at 99 cents, it's a good price point for them to download a song and not worry about the hassle of illegal downloading.

Now, obviously TV shows are different than songs (certainly there's a difference between a 42 minute show with video and audio vs. a 3 minute audio file), but the pricing issue is still similar. And there's also the factor that many people think of TV shows as a different commodity, as something they can watch for free on TV (or heck, for free on the sites of the networks now). Of course, you can hear a lot of music on the radio for free too, but whatever.

But anyway, I think it's the same thing with TV shows. At $2 an episode, a lot of people will still just go ahead and pirate it, just like they did with music before. At only 99 cents an episode, I think you'll find a lot more people willing to take the plunge.

So in the end, what is better for the networks? Maybe 10,000 people paying $2 for an episode of a show, or 100,000 people paying $1 an episode?

davekarn
Sep 7, 2007, 09:31 AM
If not an overall price cut, I think they need to start discounting the older seasons as well. Why pay $42 for season one of 24 when I can go to WalMart and pay half that? Also, I was surprised to see Amazon selling Heroes season 1 for only $31 (of course they're downloads don't work with iPods or iPhones) but that is more then $10 cheaper than iTunes. I just need more of an incentive to buy off of iTunes as opposed to owning the actual disk and this seems to be the first step in the right direction.

LagunaSol
Sep 7, 2007, 09:31 AM
$1.99 has always been too much for TV shows. $.99 is just right. If the studios would embrace this model, they'd see sales skyrocket. And become less dependent on advertisers in the process.

I could definitely kiss my cable subscription goodbye under such a model. This is certainly the future. Now we'll see if the studios boldly charge into the future or get dragged there kicking and screaming (NBC).

Zadillo
Sep 7, 2007, 09:32 AM
For once, I think the networks are right on...

Look at CDs - they've stayed the same price (if not less) than iTunes prices. If they cost twice as much as downloads, it would be suicide for the record industry, even worse than it now!

I think the folks saying they'd buy 99 cent downloads AND the DVD later down the line are in the minority...

But the bigger problem is, it's clear that the number of people willing to pay $2 an episode is pretty small.

Again, what is better? A small number of people willing to pay $2 an episode, or a m uch larger number willing to pay $1 an episode?

CD's aren't quite the same thing - the big thing is, CD's as a format are dying. They don't offer any tangible benefit to downloads (which is why the record industry is still trying to do these gimmicky CD's with video content, wallpapers, etc. on them).

DVD's of TV shows on the other hand are a booming market.

Moreover, DVD's offer bonus features, etc. than TV purchasers don't get.

Finally, downloadable TV episodes are different because part of the whole point is being able to download them as soon as the episodes air. The motivation to download an episode is different, and I don't think people see the downloadable TV content as being as "permanent" as they would TV shows.

Music (downloads vs. CD's) doesn't work this way.

You can't really compare the pricing issues of music and TV shows, as a result of this.

-Zadillo

Buschmaster
Sep 7, 2007, 09:34 AM
The only non-NBC show I've ever bought it Monk... I don't see myself buying many more episodes.

Come back NBC, I'll be more than happy to pay .99 per episode of Scrubs and the Office. Otherwise, I'll still be watching them...;)

tribulation
Sep 7, 2007, 09:36 AM
Just out of curiosity, what and why do some of you buy a TV show season on DVD? Is it just people without access to normal cable? If you have cable and a tivo I personally just can't image any reason why anyone would want to spend that kind of money for a TV show series to keep forever.

So is it mostly just people without cable subscriptions?

jackc
Sep 7, 2007, 09:38 AM
Just out of curiosity, what and why do some of you buy a TV show season on DVD? Is it just people without access to normal cable? If you have cable and a tivo I personally just can't image any reason why anyone would want to spend that kind of money for a TV show series to keep forever.

So is it mostly just people without cable subscriptions?

No, I think it's mostly people who just like the show who see it as no different than buying a movie. I normally don't buy them, but I picked up a few used ones that were cheap enough.

pubius
Sep 7, 2007, 09:39 AM
yup, i'd start buying them. check plus.

Squonk
Sep 7, 2007, 09:41 AM
This would tip the scales for me to buy TV episodes and it would not affect my decision to purchase a season on DVD as I'd still want the concise collection with the extras. Demand will go through the roof with price change. Not to mention, that with the improved iPod Classic, the new iPod touch and iPhones, :apple: now has a variety of devices ready to consume all of this content. BRING IT!

bdj21ya
Sep 7, 2007, 09:45 AM
Just out of curiosity, what and why do some of you buy a TV show season on DVD? Is it just people without access to normal cable? If you have cable and a tivo I personally just can't image any reason why anyone would want to spend that kind of money for a TV show series to keep forever.

So is it mostly just people without cable subscriptions?

There are some shows which are worth having forever (Heroes, The Office, among others). Things you'd want to be able to share with your children someday.

Zadillo
Sep 7, 2007, 09:45 AM
Just out of curiosity, what and why do some of you buy a TV show season on DVD? Is it just people without access to normal cable? If you have cable and a tivo I personally just can't image any reason why anyone would want to spend that kind of money for a TV show series to keep forever.

So is it mostly just people without cable subscriptions?

I'll buy TV shows on DVD if it's something I want to watch again and again, and at my convenience. So I've bought shows like Babylon 5, NewsRadio, etc. that I can enjoy watching multiple times.

Usually I'll wait for a TV show to go down in price (i.e. I recently snagged all 5 seasons of Babylon 5 at $19.99 a piece when Best Buy had it on sale) or be on sale though.

I would only buy a TV show on DVD that I do want to be able to watch repeatedly though. With cable and TiVo, it's good for watching whatever might be on the air at any time, and for maybe keeping a season of a sh ow y ou really like, but given limited storage, if it's something you know you want to keep, it makes sense to buy.

-Zadillo

Zadillo
Sep 7, 2007, 09:50 AM
There are some shows which are worth having forever (Heroes, The Office, among others). Things you'd want to be able to share with your children someday.

Of course, it's very unlikely that someone would still be using a DVD to share a show with their kid 20 years from now.

whatever
Sep 7, 2007, 09:50 AM
http://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com)

Variety reports (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117971505.html?categoryid=14&cs=1) that Apple has been looking into cutting prices on TV episodes from the current $1.99/episode down to $.99/episode.


Apple argues that the studios would end up making more money with an increase in volume of sales, but the studios haven't been convinced. One concern raised is that potential impact these prices would have on DVD sales which have traditionally been an important source of revenue for the studios.


According to insiders, while skeptical of the plan, the studios have not rejected it outright, and acknowledge that "library titles" of older content may make more sense at the lower price. Historically, however, Apple has been insistent on consistent pricing across the board.

The author of the article speculates that Apple and NBC's recent split may have been in part related to some of these issues.

Article Link (http://www.macrumors.com/2007/09/07/apple-seeking-price-cuts-on-itunes-television-episodes/)

DVD's? They still make those things?

I for one haven't bought a DVD since last year (and I used to buy entire seasons of shows and a movie a week). But once I got a DVR I never missed an episode of my favorite show. And then I got my HD TV and now I only watch HD Movies on cable (and again I DVR the ones I want) so that saves me from the BluRay/HD-DVD dilemma.

Now if there was only an easy way to get my content off of my DVR an onto my Apple TV....

cybertron3
Sep 7, 2007, 09:50 AM
If I get the episodes for 99 a piece, the $100 iPhone rebate apple owes me is all going to that. I think that is the price point that would push me to getting all my shows online.

compuguy1088
Sep 7, 2007, 09:54 AM
But the bigger problem is, it's clear that the number of people willing to pay $2 an episode is pretty small.

Again, what is better? A small number of people willing to pay $2 an episode, or a m uch larger number willing to pay $1 an episode?

CD's aren't quite the same thing - the big thing is, CD's as a format are dying. They don't offer any tangible benefit to downloads (which is why the record industry is still trying to do these gimmicky CD's with video content, wallpapers, etc. on them).

DVD's of TV shows on the other hand are a booming market.

Moreover, DVD's offer bonus features, etc. than TV purchasers don't get.

Finally, downloadable TV episodes are different because part of the whole point is being able to download them as soon as the episodes air. The motivation to download an episode is different, and I don't think people see the downloadable TV content as being as "permanent" as they would TV shows.

Music (downloads vs. CD's) doesn't work this way.

You can't really compare the pricing issues of music and TV shows, as a result of this.

-Zadillo
There is still one advantage of buying CD's, and that is the fidelity. The downloads that are on the majority of the iTunes music store are only 128 kilobytes/per second encoded, while a cd is at a vastly higher quality. This may not be important for most music, but the cd's extra quality really benefits classical music, though I do not know about other genres.

Zadillo
Sep 7, 2007, 10:08 AM
There is still one advantage of buying CD's, and that is the fidelity. The downloads that are on the majority of the iTunes music store are only 128 kilobytes/per second encoded, while a cd is at a vastly higher quality. This may not be important for most music, but the cd's extra quality really benefits classical music, though I do not know about other genres.

Oh yeah, certainly, I didn't mean to make it sound like CD's don't offer any benefit either.

It's just that for many buyers, the benefits aren't quite as tangible, perhaps - or at least, not so much that they don't mind just buying the music online.

-Zadillo

OhEsTen
Sep 7, 2007, 10:18 AM
And at that point DVD sales are cannibalized. Look at the looky-loos who aren't sure what to do. Before, the cost of the DVD was so close, that it was worth it to just by the stupid box. Drop to 99, and a lot of casual users will just buy the show off of iTunes. DVD sales drop, and profits are lost...

I see. But my point was that the "lookie-Loo's" are probably not going to buy the DVD's anyway. It will mostly be the serious fans of a show. So dropping the price on iTunes would seem to attract those who would normally not do anything - be it on iTunes or on DVD...

OhEsTen
Sep 7, 2007, 10:21 AM
Just out of curiosity, what and why do some of you buy a TV show season on DVD? Is it just people without access to normal cable? If you have cable and a tivo I personally just can't image any reason why anyone would want to spend that kind of money for a TV show series to keep forever.

So is it mostly just people without cable subscriptions?

No. I have cable (along with a crappy DVR they supply), and never looked up or bothered with how to extract the video off of it. The only TV show I ever bought was Arrested Development. All three seasons. Best DVD purchase ever.

And no commercials is nice too...

Virgil-TB2
Sep 7, 2007, 10:22 AM
If you're really into a show - people will want the DVD for exactly that point - the extras that you don't get through iTunes. Why do most of the studios seem so hesitant with stuff like this? I don't see cheaper iTunes shows cannibalizing DVD sales...I totally agree with this comment. I am a DVD "collector" and have over a thousand at least, but I rarely buy TV show sets because of the really low value proposition they represent.

That being said though, they really are two different markets. If you want to "collect" a show, then you will pay a hundred bucks for the fancy boxed set of DVD's. If you just want to download some Brady Bunch on impulse because you are going on a long bus trip, then 99 cents seems much more palatable.

Downloads should be treated as what they are, low quality "throw-away" purchases, (almost like rentals) and not as if you are "buying the show" at all.

BKKbill
Sep 7, 2007, 10:25 AM
So what I was pointing out is that I don't understand how you're saying it's .04 or even .11. The basic premise is that exchange rates are an unreliable measure. So if you're not using exchange rates, and not using the proposed iTunes show valuation, then how can you say anything in terms of U.S. dollars?

OK you got me there it's not .11 but 3.77 Thai Baht. The exchange rate is what country's use to convert money to local currency's it may be an unreliable measure but it is what it is. I'm talking about annual income which is what the original poster was taking about. If you read my last post and the one from another poster about 3 or 4 before mine hopefully you will understand. I don't think I can explain it any clearer. Oh and you are right about us not getting iTunes here we are much to foreign for that. Although Apple will let me spend 58,990 Thai Baht for a 20", 2.4GHz model iMac. Oh sorry that would be 1720.50 USD with tax and exchange for you. Coming as soon as Leopard is out. Have a good day.

diamond.g
Sep 7, 2007, 10:28 AM
Just out of curiosity, what and why do some of you buy a TV show season on DVD? Is it just people without access to normal cable? If you have cable and a tivo I personally just can't image any reason why anyone would want to spend that kind of money for a TV show series to keep forever.

So is it mostly just people without cable subscriptions?
I have cable, but I also buy the season of shows that I like alot on DVD (well now HD DVD).

And then I got my HD TV and now I only watch HD Movies on cable (and again I DVR the ones I want) so that saves me from the BluRay/HD-DVD dilemma.


OTA or even "Cable" HD wont be showing in 1080p for quite a while. HD DVD and BluRay have a leg up on resolution and sound. Some of you would really enjoy Dolby TrueHD. For those that like extras the Hi Def formats also offer more and better interactivity.

thejadedmonkey
Sep 7, 2007, 10:33 AM
This might actually get me to spend money on iTMS now!:eek:

Unspeaked
Sep 7, 2007, 10:38 AM
Again, what is better? A small number of people willing to pay $2 an episode, or a m uch larger number willing to pay $1 an episode?

I think the networks would rather have a small number of people willing to pay $2 an episode and a large number of people willing to pay $25-40 a box set for the series on DVD, which is the current setup.


CD's aren't quite the same thing - the big thing is, CD's as a format are dying. They don't offer any tangible benefit to downloads (which is why the record industry is still trying to do these gimmicky CD's with video content, wallpapers, etc. on them).

I don't know, I doubt they're anymore a dying format than DVDs.

As someone else brought up, there's the fidelity issue.

Also, the price is very much in line, or even cheaper, than downloads.

And as you yourself bring up, there's been an effort to bring some value-added material to CDs, but it goes way beyond videos and wallpaper. Most new releases I see come with entire bonus discs of material, or a bonus DVD, of very cool packaging (we're on a packaging kick unlike anything the record industry has seen since the first days of CDs, with everything from stickers to t-shirts to action figures being bundled with CDs!).

And, of course, there's the fact that you've got a ready-made backup for the material you just bought...

cliffjumper68
Sep 7, 2007, 10:43 AM
I think they might actually find people buying the iTunes episodes during the season and the DVD later if they price it right. For now, there are shows I won't buy from iTunes because I intend to get the DVDs when they are released, but that forces me to wait much longer than I'd like to.

It would move us one step closer to replacing traditional TV with demand based content. Gonna happen just a matter of when...

whatever
Sep 7, 2007, 10:43 AM
I have cable, but I also buy the season of shows that I like alot on DVD (well now HD DVD).

OTA or even "Cable" HD wont be showing in 1080p for quite a while. HD DVD and BluRay have a leg up on resolution and sound. Some of you would really enjoy Dolby TrueHD. For those that like extras the Hi Def formats also offer more and better interactivity.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that both HD DVD and BluRay formats are destined for extinction. Unlike both DVD and CD there replacement is already in use (OnDemand, DVR's and download options).

Today, there is no reason (besides lack of content) Apple couldn't sell 1080p content in the iTunes store. Yes, I know that QuickTime doesn't support Dolby Digital, but we all know that's just a software fix!.

I have a large DVD collection (and a even larger CD collection) and basically they're both collecting dust.

As far as the DVD extras go, how many people really watch them? And they could easily be offered as downloads too.

bugabuga
Sep 7, 2007, 10:48 AM
The only non-NBC show I've ever bought it Monk... I don't see myself buying many more episodes.

Come back NBC, I'll be more than happy to pay .99 per episode of Scrubs and the Office. Otherwise, I'll still be watching them...;)
So when Apple said "NBC wants us to double the price!" they actually meant they'd still have to sell those at $1.99 instead of 99c ?
Now it all suddenly a bit more clear (as well as willingness of NBC to give 30% season discount) :)

mrgreen4242
Sep 7, 2007, 10:53 AM
Well, one obvious solution to this is offering two versions of TV shows (and movies, for that matter). One that is DVD resolution (or at least the res they are now) for the ATV and output out to TV from an iPod, and the other at iPod (or preferably iPod Touch/iPhone) resolution.

Keep charging $2 for the DVD quality, and drop the iPod/iPhone quality version to $1. They can drop the bittrate on the iPod ones a ton as a result and save cost on bandwidth, and also make them more of an impulse buy... I've only downloaded one show from iTMS and it took forever to get it as it was nearly 700mb and the iTMS doesn't come close to maxing out my internet connection (I am able to get as high a full MB - 1024 kilo BYTES - on my cable modem). Took hours, which was really disappointing and is the #2 (behind price) reason I don't use the iTMS for TV shoes/movies.

They'd need to go high res and widescreen as well, at both the $2 and $1 levels - 720x480 and 480x320, respectively. At these prices it would encourage sales and 'protect' DVD set revenue at the same time. People would get more for their money at the current price (widescreen, higher res) which would appease some of the people who feel $2 is too much for what you get, and also give a good option for people who just want to watch the show on their iPod/iPhone.

Floris
Sep 7, 2007, 10:55 AM
I am happy to see prices going down, if that will happen. But to be honest, the price is just fine, and I don't think a tv episode is the same as a single audio file. I am also not sure if it is so smart to have this news just after the nbc/apple conflict.

Dimwhit
Sep 7, 2007, 10:59 AM
I don't buy shows at $1.99. I would absolutely buy some at $.99. I think Apple is on the ball with this one.

mikea
Sep 7, 2007, 11:03 AM
This is absolutely a great idea. Being from Canada..we don't get itunes tv anyway,which sucks the big one. I download torrents, but the thing is, I would pay for it if it was avaliable....it has something to do with stupid liscencing laws up here. But, the 99 cents is brilliant...they would sell alot more and it would be an incentive to buy instead of getting torrents for free. It sure has worked for music with me..these tv and music executives need to understand that everything has changed...wake up.
that's all

Tazzy531
Sep 7, 2007, 11:07 AM
OH NO!!
I bought an episode last week for $1.99. Now it's dropped to $0.99. That's an unheard of 50% drop in price!

I'm going to start a petition that Apple refunds us early adopters of this new episode.

[/sarcasm]


Disclaimer: I bought the iPhone on launch day and don't think Apple owes us anything for dropping the price.

flopticalcube
Sep 7, 2007, 11:08 AM
This is absolutely a great idea. Being from Canada..we don't get itunes tv anyway,which sucks the big one. I download torrents, but the thing is, I would pay for it if it was avaliable....it has something to do with stupid liscencing laws up here. But, the 99 cents is brilliant...they would sell alot more and it would be an incentive to buy instead of getting torrents for free. It sure has worked for music with me..these tv and music executives need to understand that everything has changed...wake up.
that's all

This is the balance that Apple is seeking. Make it pointless to torrent when its so cheap anyways. I just don't understand media executives sometimes. Have they not learned that they cannot fight technology?


OH NO!!
I bought an episode last week for $1.99. Now it's dropped to $0.99. That's an unheard of 50% drop in price!

I'm going to start a petition that Apple refunds us early adopters of this new episode.

[/sarcasm]


Disclaimer: I bought the iPhone on launch day and don't think Apple owes us anything for dropping the price.
LOL! Very good.

Tazzy531
Sep 7, 2007, 11:10 AM
Just out of curiosity, what and why do some of you buy a TV show season on DVD? Is it just people without access to normal cable? If you have cable and a tivo I personally just can't image any reason why anyone would want to spend that kind of money for a TV show series to keep forever.

So is it mostly just people without cable subscriptions?

First of all, I love watching shows without commercials. Commercials get annoying.

Secondly, for long running dramas that rely on previous episodes, such as Heroes and Lost, I sometimes will power through 5 or 6 episodes on a weekend instead of watching it over the course of a season.

louden
Sep 7, 2007, 11:12 AM
I agree the demand for TV shows would be much greater at that .99 price. Somebody send the studio execs to Econ 101.

At 1.99 an episode, you wind up paying MORE for a TV season than it would cost to buy these things on DVD! Not to mention the fact that there's virtually no production cost in digital distribution. To tell you the truth, I don't want DVD's and CDs cluttering up my house. I'd much rather have this content available online and easily stored on a HD for my own viewing.

diamond.g
Sep 7, 2007, 11:45 AM
I guess what I'm trying to say is that both HD DVD and BluRay formats are destined for extinction. Unlike both DVD and CD there replacement is already in use (OnDemand, DVR's and download options).

see the problem is OTA and Cable/Satelite can't match HD DVD and BluRay.
1080p -Not enough bandwidth and it isn't in the ATSC broadcast spec (due to not enough bandwidth).
Dolby TrueHD/DTSMA -May see that but it will obviously take time as bandwidth is tight.
PCM -Not even likely as it is uncomressed sound

Download Options are great until you have to download huge files, on XBLMP Superman Returns is like 7 gig and that is only 720P without the high quality surround sound.

Today, there is no reason (besides lack of content) Apple couldn't sell 1080p content in the iTunes store. Yes, I know that QuickTime doesn't support Dolby Digital, but we all know that's just a software fix!.
File size, which could be combated with more compression (eww!). Apple start using bittorrent or charging more as bandwidth isn't cheap.

I have a large DVD collection (and a even larger CD collection) and basically they're both collecting dust.

As far as the DVD extras go, how many people really watch them? And they could easily be offered as downloads too.

I used to buy tons of DVD's but with the high def formats I have became picky. Shoot when I download episodes of shows that I have missed I even try to find an HD feed.

joeshell383
Sep 7, 2007, 11:50 AM
I can't believe they would think about cutting the price. I feel so ripped off when they cut the price. I'm rating this negative. Apple should always keep the price the same, even when the laws of supply and demand pressure them to lower prices. If they do cut the price I should get a refund! I mean a 50% price cut! Ugh! I could MAYBE get over it if they cut the price 10% or 25%, slowly, but a 50% price cut at once! Even though I valued the shows at $1.99 when I bought them and was happy until they cut the price, I am now upset because others pay less than I did. Apple stole from me. They actually removed the satisfaction that I previously had with the product. I think I'm going to buy a Dell with Windows Vista Home Premium and start using Unbox.

sbarton
Sep 7, 2007, 12:10 PM
I really don't want to fill up my hard drive with TV shows.

I'd like to see $.75 - $.99 for renting any show (unlimited viewings, 3 - 6 month expiration) and keep the buy price at $1.99 per episode. Maybe even throw in a $.50 version which includes a few commercials.

At those prices and given enough content, we might see some people starting to drop thier sat/cable companies.

EagerDragon
Sep 7, 2007, 12:15 PM
Bring it own Apple.

The TV distributors are quite a team to work with, hehe, lets see:

So it is bad if customers pay $23 for 23 episodes, but it is perfectly fine if the DVD hard set sells for 40 and the customers pay 45.77 for the same eposides at the 1.99 rate for lower quality downloads?

At the NBC rate of 4.99 it would be like 114.77 for the same episodes, no extra material, and lower quality.

Talks about a download TAX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As NBC and other have little to no distribution cost, do not include all the same material as the box set, and the quality of the video is lower with the downloads ........ I would think it should be cheaper to download.

Maybe they are using a new form of math that I do not know yet. Yea, that's it.
http://forums.appleinsider.com/images/smilies/1oyvey.gif

Random Ping
Sep 7, 2007, 12:34 PM
At $.99 I'd be really tempted to buy TV shows (as soon as they are here). I think the DVD comparison is flawed

I agree. I have bought a few TV shows, but I would definitely buy a whole lot more at 99 cents. In fact, I would try a lot of shows that I've heard of but never watched. Removing the barrier to sample new things is what grows an audience. If I like it, I will start watching it regularly on TV.

If I really like a TV series, like X Files or CSI, I am going to buy the DVDs. Besides the extras, they are more permanent. I don't like to back-up large amounts of video from my hard disk. The DVDs are their own back-up.

notjustjay
Sep 7, 2007, 12:47 PM
This is absolutely a great idea. Being from Canada..we don't get itunes tv anyway,which sucks the big one. I download torrents, but the thing is, I would pay for it if it was avaliable....it has something to do with stupid liscencing laws up here.

My current work-around is to buy myself an Apple Store (US) gift card whenever I'm down in the States. Register an account and you're good to go.

Mr.Gadget
Sep 7, 2007, 12:55 PM
DVD is still the "best" for your money. DVD's can be played on a TV of any size without having to fork over another couple hundred dollars for an Apple TV...
DVD's have superior quality video, sound, and bonus features...
So, there is a place for iTunes shows for sure, but there is also a place for DVD based shows.
Lowering the price of iTunes shows may up the number of downloads, but it will not impact DVD sales since they are two different beasts.
If I could easily play my iTunes downloaded Eureka shows on my TV without an Apple TV box, and have them still look good, than I would fore go the actual DVD. Heck, I can't even put my legally purchased iTunes TV shows on DVD! Nope, DVD is here to stay as long as iTunes locks down the product sold.

minik
Sep 7, 2007, 12:55 PM
BTW some TV shows didn't make it to the DVD releases.

acslater017
Sep 7, 2007, 01:13 PM
NBC (and others) don't seem to understand modern living. who watches TV anymore? it's either TiVo or Torrents... i downloaded the entire season of Heroes (thinking i should probably check out what all the fuss is about)... but if each episode was $0.99 via iTunes, i probably would have bought the season instead of steal it (although "steal it" is a bit of an overstatement, since NBC aired it for free previously)...

NBC (and others) also need to realize that myself and millions of others are a modern audience... we don't watch TV, we watch the internet.

i was thinking the same thing - for $1.99, i'd rather find the torrent and download it. but $0.99 is a good deal for guaranteed quality, quick releases (morning after, right?), immediate iPod-ability and an assuaged conscience ;)

99-cent downloads would convince a lot of on-the-fencers (regarding legal vs. illegal, torrent vs iTunes) to take the legal route. SIMILAR to the argument made about digital music. a lot of people aren't really trying to STEAL - they just want their content in convenient, relevant forms.

bdj21ya
Sep 7, 2007, 01:33 PM
DVD is still the "best" for your money. DVD's can be played on a TV of any size without having to fork over another couple hundred dollars for an Apple TV...
DVD's have superior quality video, sound, and bonus features...
So, there is a place for iTunes shows for sure, but there is also a place for DVD based shows.
Lowering the price of iTunes shows may up the number of downloads, but it will not impact DVD sales since they are two different beasts.
If I could easily play my iTunes downloaded Eureka shows on my TV without an Apple TV box, and have them still look good, than I would fore go the actual DVD. Heck, I can't even put my legally purchased iTunes TV shows on DVD! Nope, DVD is here to stay as long as iTunes locks down the product sold.

So for a lot of us, playing these on TV isn't difficult and doesn't require new hardware. If you have a laptop, there are just so many ways to connect it to the TV. Even if you have a desktop, cabling is not really rocket science.

At any rate, they fill different needs. DVD's will never offer the opportunity to catch up on that new episode you missed because your DVR got priorities screwed up, power went out, or some other malfunction.

bdj21ya
Sep 7, 2007, 01:34 PM
I can't believe they would think about cutting the price. I feel so ripped off when they cut the price. I'm rating this negative. Apple should always keep the price the same, even though they want to grow their business and supply and demand is pressuring them to lower prices. If they do cut the price I should get a refund! I mean a 50% price cut! Ugh! I could MAYBE get over it if they cut the price 10% or 25%, slowly, but a 50% price cut at once! Even though I valued the shows at $1.99 when I bought them and was happy until they cut the price, I am now upset that others pay less than I did. Apple stole from me. They actually removed the satisfaction that I previously had with the product. I think I'm going to buy a Dell with Windows Vista Home Premium and start using Unbox.

Thanks, that was well written. :D

compuguy1088
Sep 7, 2007, 01:37 PM
Oh yeah, certainly, I didn't mean to make it sound like CD's don't offer any benefit either.

It's just that for many buyers, the benefits aren't quite as tangible, perhaps - or at least, not so much that they don't mind just buying the music online.

-Zadillo

I understand that, I've bought things off of iTunes for that convienance. I'm just saying there are still some advantages, which are small for CD's.

pjarvi
Sep 7, 2007, 01:37 PM
I have no problem with paying $1.99 for individual episodes, but wish they would give deeper discounts for buying complete seasons. They shouldn't charge more for a season then is charged for the DVD version.

Other than that, I do hope they add more classic content. Whether they price it at .99 or 1.99 doesn't matter, I just don't like most of what's been coming out for the last 5+ years.

seashellz
Sep 7, 2007, 01:38 PM
Since many people are unable to play an iTunes show on their TV anyway (I cannot)
the studios should worry about what?
--

compuguy1088
Sep 7, 2007, 01:40 PM
Since many peope are unable to play an iTunes show on their TV anyway (I cannot)
the studios should worry about what?

I don't know. I have personally not downloaded any shows, from the quality factor as well as conveinance of DVR'ing it, or using a Torrent, which is higher quality, as well as DVR'ing it as well.

Snowy_River
Sep 7, 2007, 01:44 PM
I can't believe they would think about cutting the price. I feel so ripped off when they cut the price. I'm rating this negative. Apple should always keep the price the same, even though they want to grow their business and supply and demand is pressuring them to lower prices. If they do cut the price I should get a refund! I mean a 50% price cut! Ugh! I could MAYBE get over it if they cut the price 10% or 25%, slowly, but a 50% price cut at once! Even though I valued the shows at $1.99 when I bought them and was happy until they cut the price, I am now upset that others pay less than I did. Apple stole from me. They actually removed the satisfaction that I previously had with the product. I think I'm going to buy a Dell with Windows Vista Home Premium and start using Unbox.

Someone have their tongue planted firmly in their cheek??

spydr
Sep 7, 2007, 01:51 PM
I certainly think shows older than a year should be available for .99c - it will definitely spark much higher sales then.

Snowy_River
Sep 7, 2007, 01:54 PM
From my perspective, there are two things to consider here. First, the DVD has the advantages of:


Durability
Higher quality video
Portability (ever want to go to a friend's house to watch that show? iTunes, no can do. DVD, just grab it and go.)


Second, iTunes has the advantages of:


Convenience (just download it, no going to the store or waiting for it to come in the mail)
Individual episodes rather than the whole season
Available while the season is still in progress.


So, as I see it, that last one is the big one in favor of iTunes (though from the 'sampling' point of view, the second one weighs in pretty well, too). Therefore, I could see an argument being put forward to have episodes that are part of the currently running season costing $1.99, while episodes from previous seasons, or classic TV, costing $.99. The $1.99 isn't really in competition with DVDs, as there are no DVDs available of shows that are currently running. Once there is DVD competition, then the price of the download drops.

Just my thoughts.

ekimeel
Sep 7, 2007, 02:10 PM
OH NO!!
I bought an episode last week for $1.99. Now it's dropped to $0.99. That's an unheard of 50% drop in price!

I'm going to start a petition that Apple refunds us early adopters of this new episode.

[/sarcasm]


Disclaimer: I bought the iPhone on launch day and don't think Apple owes us anything for dropping the price.

since you don't need that $100, would you please donate that to a public school and post the receipt here to show you are a man of your word?

macUser2007
Sep 7, 2007, 02:16 PM
... I could see an argument being put forward to have episodes that are part of the currently running season costing $1.99, while episodes from previous seasons, or classic TV, costing $.99....

You are missing the point: the $0.99 is closer to the point where MOST would just pay it, instead of scouring the web for a pirated copy. If you drop the quality, or increase the price, you are simply making a larger portion of consumers spend the time and effort to obtain the show through different means. Econ 101.

24's 5th season on DVD is $26 on Amazon, which includes production of the DVD and packaging materials, art, extras, distribution and storage cost, and shipping to the consumer. The same show, without ANY of the extras, nice art and packaging, etc., is now almost $48 from iTunes. Do the math (but not like the content providers, who seem to think that 2+2 must equal 8.)

Mgkwho
Sep 7, 2007, 02:23 PM
I think that's a little cheap...I'd pay for $1.49 though. Heck, I'm fine with $1.99. But not much more.

-=|Mgkwho

virtualhetfield
Sep 7, 2007, 03:18 PM
Historically, however, Apple has been insistent on consistent pricing across the board.

Funny how someone living in UK has to pay more overall than someone in the US when purchasing the same thing from the itunes store. I know they "insist" it should happen but why hasn't it. I'm sure a lot of other users who have UK accounts agree with me here

Jaqen
Sep 7, 2007, 04:37 PM
This could definitely get me to purchase a few tings off of itunes. I think $1.99 is quite steep, and the only time I end up buying something to watch off of the iTunes store is when I'm really bored and could use a new tv show to watch.

For all the shows I like, I've always just grabbed it from a torrent site after it airs, or in some cases you can get it before it airs since I know there were a few shows last season that aired a day earlier in Canada.

I've never been a fan of purchasing digital media, there's too many downsides. I mean, if your hard drive crashes and you lose it all, you'll have to pay for it again? Yeah, everyone says to backup, but the fact is most people don't. What you purchase should be remembered in your account, and you should be able to redownload it if needed. I don't see what the big deal with letting people do that is. They could easily set reasonable limitations on that.

But, I like having the dvd box set to seasons I like eventually, due to captions/subtitles/extras/quality/having something physical that you can't lose, unless you play frisbee with the dvds. However, at $.99 per episode, I could see myself using itunes rather than torrents and even buying the dvd set after the season is over, at least sometimes, due to simplicity and speed. Well I guess speed isn't that big of a deal, it only takes around 30 minutes-2 hours after a torrent is posted to get an episode, most of the time. I don't know, it's just hard to justify paying $1-2 bucks for an episode that already aired in your home for free (well, are a few exceptions such as hbo/showtime stuff). And most of the time I watch the tv shows I like, schedule permitting, when they air.

BKF
Sep 7, 2007, 05:20 PM
I'm a long-time Apple fan, but it should be clear to the studios that this is Apple asking them to churn out the cheap content not so that the studios and networks can make money, but so that the iTunes store will be full of cheap cheap cheap and, importantly, large files -- thus creating a demand for iPods with ever larger storage capacities. Give us all your crappy shows for cheap, they're saying, so that we can make a bundle on how people store them. It works for me, but if the networks balk, who can blame them?

ClarkKent
Sep 7, 2007, 07:08 PM
Think about it. Video downloads are disposable. They're lower quality and they don't have the extras that come with the DVDs. But let's run with the assumption (for just a second) that people will collect the downloads instead of the box set. You buy the episodes. How do you back them up? Well the only way you CAN is as a data file. You certainly can't burn it into a playable DVD. So every time I want to watch episodes, I have to find the backed-up version, copy it to my hard drive and watch it at my computer (unless I have Apple TV.) Hardly convenient. I'd like to meet the marketing Einstein that thinks downloads will impact DVD sales. Yeah, right. Convenience is the name of the game. Downloads that are convenient will sell. Home-made collections are NOT convenient. Boxed collections are convenient (they just work, are of good quality with extra material.)

People that buy the boxed sets are fans who want the DVD extras. I very rarely buy boxed sets, and only then for shows that I really, really like. I have a few digital copies of some of the same shows that I have on DVD. But they were acquired in the interest of following the plot line so I wouldn't be lost the following week.

You make it tougher (i.e. more expensive) for me to get into the shows, I will watch less TV. I don't have time to dick around. It's all about convenience.

rockosmodurnlif
Sep 8, 2007, 12:14 AM
This far along the thread, my reply probably won't get read but I'm sitting in an airport terminal with nothing better to do.

Are videos not locked into iTunes anymore or it that not a concern for anyone? Is iTunes/iPod how you primarily watch these movies and TV shows? Early on I was going to buy some music videos from iTunes but I want to be able to watch them where I want, even burn them on a DVD (maybe using iDVD?) much like I can with music purchased from iTunes, but since I can't, I won't be purchasing.

The shows on TV are not free, they are paid for by advertisers. Still though, these discounts are not aimed at consumers who aren't going to buy (that makes sense) and a $40 DVD set vs. $23 per episode download (maybe $34.50?) is a good option. But I'll never buy any videos until I can do what I want with them.

Snowy_River
Sep 8, 2007, 12:58 AM
You are missing the point: the $0.99 is closer to the point where MOST would just pay it, instead of scouring the web for a pirated copy. If you drop the quality, or increase the price, you are simply making a larger portion of consumers spend the time and effort to obtain the show through different means. Econ 101.

24's 5th season on DVD is $26 on Amazon, which includes production of the DVD and packaging materials, art, extras, distribution and storage cost, and shipping to the consumer. The same show, without ANY of the extras, nice art and packaging, etc., is now almost $48 from iTunes. Do the math (but not like the content providers, who seem to think that 2+2 must equal 8.)

Really, I didn't miss the point. You may have missed mine, though.

And Econ 101 would teach us that price is often driven by perceived value. If the perceived value of being able to download an episode while in the middle of a season (missed an episode? just got into the show and want to catch up?) is greater than that of buying episodes after the season is over and the DVDs are out, then it could be argued that the price should be higher.

Now, the flip side is that not everyone will see the higher value, and therefore not everyone will be willing to pay the higher price. This, naturally, leads to the question "Will the volume of sales be sufficiently greater at the lower price to make up for or exceed the lost revenue?" That is the debate that Apple and the Networks are, no doubt, having right now.

As far as the DVDs of 24, you're making my point for me. I said that an argument could be made that once the DVDs come out some of the perceived value of the downloads would disappear, so the price should drop to $0.99 per episode.

sonicboom
Sep 8, 2007, 01:32 AM
If this is true, then I think Apple is right on track. I sometimes purchase tv episodes, but the $1.99 price does make me think about it and hold back. If episodes of shows I want to see (new shows in the past year) cost .99... I wouldn't think twice about it. I'd buy, and they would certainly get more volume out of me.

Don't bother discounting old material (decades old). Nobody wants to pay to see that from itunes.

SmokyD
Sep 8, 2007, 02:35 AM
Arn,

Any idea why my post yesterday was removed? The discussion about UK prices I commented on (along with the original post someone else made) seems to have vanished.

The post was normal and innocuous enough, nothing unusual. Can't see why it was removed... system glitch?

JoeG4
Sep 8, 2007, 04:55 PM
What I'd love from apple is a TV over IP service, if they came out with something like that, I'd buy a handful of Apple TV boxes :D