iTMS Monthly TV Show Subscriptions

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Reuters reports that Apple introduced its first move into subscription-like services with a new iTunes service called Multi-Pass.

iTunes is launching the service in partnership with Viacom Inc.'s Comedy Central Network, which is rolling out "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" on the service.
Users will be able to buy the next month series of 16 episodes for $9.99. Four episodes air each week and viewers can download each episode after its been broadcast. The shows are also available individually for $1.99 per episode as before.

No word on how the Digital Rights Management is handled, but appears to simply be discounted bulk purchasing of the shows, and is expected to be "owned" downloads -- the same as individually purchased items.
 

Lord Blackadder

macrumors G5
May 7, 2004
13,997
3,197
Sod off
I hate the concept of the "you can watch it but you don't own it" subscription services, but if this is just a "bulk" deal then that's cool. The Daily Show rocks!
 

Chaszmyr

macrumors 601
Aug 9, 2002
4,267
85
I'm definitely not a fan of subscription models in general, but for an individual TV show, this is pretty cool.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,512
Here's a press release I just got:


NEW YORK, March 8 (Reuters) - Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes music and video store on Wednesday took its first step toward a monthly subscription model with a new service called Multi-Pass that lets users buy TV shows on a monthly basis.

iTunes is launching the service in partnership with Viacom Inc.'s Comedy Central Network, which is rolling out "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" on the service. Fans will be able to buy the next month's series of 16 new episodes via Multi-Pass for $9.99, or to pay $1.99 per episode. Four episodes air each week and viewers can download each episode after it's been broadcast.

TV shows and other video have been available for sale on iTunes since late last year. Comedy Central announced a relationship with iTunes six weeks ago with shows including "South Park," "Drawn Together" and "Comedy Central Stand-Up."

Michele Ganeless, executive vice president at Comedy Central, said there would be no advertising on the service for the time being, similar to the network's DVD business.

Apple has so far resisted calls from media companies and competitors to adopt a monthly subscription fee favored by the likes of Napster and Real Networks Inc.'s Rhapsody, preferring an a la carte download model where music tracks cost 99 cents and videos $1.99.

Videos downloaded from the iTunes Music Store can be played back on a personal computer or an Apple iPod portable media player, among other devices. More than 8 million videos have been sold since it launched at the end of last year.

Shows including Walt Disney Co.'s "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" were among the first to be made available on the service.
 

esaleris

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2005
315
3
As I understand the Reuters article, you will be able to KEEP the files purchased under the "MultiPass" option. So the term "Subscription" is misleading - it's more like a magazine. Your subscription gives you a number of issues per the term, and then when the membership ends, you keep the end product.

I like that, since it's cheaper. I don't like the idea of not being able to watch/listen to what you had bought once out of membership.
 

Trowaman

macrumors 6502a
Nov 3, 2003
598
0
CD: TX-14
it's not really a subscription though. I mena it is, but you own the stuff afterwards. $10, 16 epsidoes of TDS or Colbert. It's just a cheap discount.

I am considering this though . . . I love TDS, Colbert is funny most of the time.
 

ejbenjamin

macrumors member
Mar 21, 2005
45
0
This is not a subscription system. You still have the episodes even if you don't buy the show next month.

This is simply like an album purchase-- you get a discount for buying in bulk.

Edit: That's what I get for being a slow typer: Third in line to point this out.
 

ibook30

macrumors 6502a
Jun 4, 2005
815
3
2,000 light years from home
ejbenjamin said:
This is not a subscription system. You still have the episodes even if you don't buy the show next month.

This is simply like an album purchase-- you get a discount for buying in bulk.

Edit: That's what I get for being a slow typer: Third in line to point this out.
I agree. But- Reuters chose to phrase it this way. Perhaps it is foreshadowing - I hope not.
 

Wigletbill

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2003
84
0
Step in the right direction...

I have berated Apple for their lackluster support of an integrated media solution but this is really a step in that direction. Not for me though... tiVo RULES.

J
 

kwajo.com

macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2002
895
0
Bay of Fundy
I think this is a great model for Apple to use, it sort of meets the subscription debate half-way. It's not per-show, it's not subscription, it's a balance. It let's you save money and keep your content. Really it is like the album discount for music, you save because you are buying them as a bundle.

Now if only we could get this is Canada, I wouldn't have to stay up til 1am to watch my favorite shows all the time :rolleyes:
 

admanimal

macrumors 68040
Apr 22, 2005
3,531
2
My question is whether only the copy of iTunes that you use to originally purchase the mutlipass will attempt to download new episodes, or if any copy of iTunes that has your account logged in will. I bought the TDS multipass with my Mini that is attached to a TV, for obvious reasons. But it would be a pain if some episodes end up getting downloaded by iTunes on my iMac or iBook, and then I have to copy them over by hand. I'll find out tomorrow, I guess.

If anyone is interested, here is a screenshot of the email they send after you buy a multipass.
 

Honortgoat

macrumors newbie
Aug 20, 2003
19
1
Moab, Utah
I'd been hoping for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report to be available on iTunes MS for awhile now. I've come to enjoy watching these shows on the metro to and from work. Unfortunately, due to my means of getting the shows I was watching Monday night's shows on Wednesday. Hoepfully, these shows will be available by very early the next morning.

I, for one, wouldn't mind a subscription based model for only TDS and TCR. Unlike serial shoes like Battlestar Galactica or music videos, it's a rare Daily Show that I want to see more than once. I just prefer to watch these shows on my metro rides over staying up to watch them.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,366
978
New England
esaleris said:
So the term "Subscription" is misleading - it's more like a magazine. Your subscription gives you a number of issues per the term, and then when the membership ends, you keep the end product.
I think it's the other guys that are using subscription in a misleading way. As you point out magazine subscription is more like the iTMS model. Perhaps they should change over to the word "membership" services, as that seems more descriptive of a service that only lets you access content when you are paying a monthly fee.

EDIT: BTW Ricky Gervais seems to have been ahead of the curve here, since that seems to describe the current bulk prepaiment model for his paidcast, although the subscription is only available from Audible at this point.

B
 

Enterprise8875

macrumors member
Oct 14, 2005
71
0
WOW! Thats an amazing deal! I just ordered the multipass of Colbert Report and will grab Daily Show later today. Wow this is great!
 

boncellis

macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2006
474
0
Salt Lake City
I hope this attracts more users to iTMS

I agree that the "bulk" pricing is certainly welcome to those of us who already use the iTMS regularly. The question I have is whether this will attract new users so that the demand for even more content reaches a critical mass to entice more networks to provide their shows for download. I hope that it will, I don't watch that much TV, so I hope to one day be able to do all of my mindless staring on demand without having to pay for the service and still own the episodes.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,576
660
Cork, Ireland.
balamw said:
I think it's the other guys that are using subscription in a misleading way. As you point out magazine subscription is more like the iTMS model. Perhaps they should change over to the word "membership" services, as that seems more descriptive of a service that only lets you access content when you are paying a monthly fee.B
Yup, I agree, this is a "subscription" in its truest sense.

(And also - this is exactly what I wanted, not a membership 'rental' service).
 

stoid

macrumors 601
balamw said:
I think it's the other guys that are using subscription in a misleading way. As you point out magazine subscription is more like the iTMS model. Perhaps they should change over to the word "membership" services, as that seems more descriptive of a service that only lets you access content when you are paying a monthly fee.

B
Indeed you are right. Imagine if once your subscription to National Geographic or TIME ran out, and the magazines automatically sealed themselves shut so you could no longer open them.
 

esaleris

macrumors 6502
Oct 18, 2005
315
3
OH NOW I GET IT

It just struck me now why Apple is doing this! In my twisted little mind, I see the game plan - and I think it's a good theory.

Apple wants us to get used to the subscription idea - of paying $9.99 a month for something. This, most people would say is obvious. And the movie industry wants that. They want the content sitting on their porch, pulled when they say, and put back as is. They would only accept a "rental"/Netflix-type philosophy.

But Apple wants us to be happy with its subscription. Happiness and satisfaction equals longer-term profit. And we are okay with a subscription, as long as we get to keep stuff. Most of us would be okay if Apple's subscription were more of a membership than a subscription - you get content as you keep paying, but you can keep the content even after membership.

So how can Apple reconcile this? By bundling.

"Huh," you say? Well, think of it this way, if you paid $29.99 a month for Apple content, and you got to keep all the TV shows, and got to watch a couple of movies that would eventually be defunct, that'd be somewhat OK. After all, you still get to keep South Park and The Daily Show.

It would be in their interest.... If you really wanted to movie, you'd get the DVD, wouldn't you? I mean, a family favorite is going to to be a family favorite. What Apple wants to hook are people who just want to watch on-demand movies on iTunes. They've been selling TV shows for 1/2 a year, and it's a great way to hook a higher-value subscription with movies to drive a vPod, while keeping us happy.

It's somewhat of a bait and switch, but it turns the value proposition around so that we get something in return and pits the TV show industry to compete with the movie industry, instead of both competing against Apple for profit!

This is the first foray. They want to see if the idea of a memberships works, and with some TV shows. It's a test run. And we all know they are interested in movies. So it makes sense if you think about it. Or at least it does to me.
 

itsbetteronamac

macrumors regular
Apr 27, 2003
171
0
Yay! I think this is perfect. The ability to lets say order a season of a show, and watch them as they come out... and for a reasonable price I might add. I still feel that $50 a month for however many shows you want it great too. Now, I am not talking renting. If you pay each month, you can download whatever shows you want, and you own them. Or just do it the ad way.... rather have unlimited downloads with ads. Or, $10 a month and download all you want with ads, and you own them.

Oh! Man I can wait till the future.
 

boncellis

macrumors 6502
Feb 9, 2006
474
0
Salt Lake City
Good To See Apple Stick To Their Guns

esaleris said:
OH NOW I GET IT

It just struck me now why Apple is doing this! In my twisted little mind, I see the game plan - and I think it's a good theory.

Apple wants us to get used to the subscription idea - of paying $9.99 a month for something. This, most people would say is obvious. And the movie industry wants that...It's somewhat of a bait and switch, but it turns the value proposition around so that we get something in return and pits the TV show industry to compete with the movie industry, instead of both competing against Apple for profit!
Devious though it would be were Apple to perpetrate such a "bait and switch" as you call it, but I just don't see it. Apple is all about simplicity, not convoluted multi-tiered pricing schemes. I think that's what attracts a lot of people to the iTMS in the first place.

You may be right, and I might be naive. I have faith that Apple will not outthink themselves in that respect. You are probably right about the price point of $9.99 though, I'm sure it will coincide with something around the corner.
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Jun 4, 2003
18,377
43
1123.6536.5321
Kudos to Apple for not mkaing this "just another subscription service". By allowing the user to keep what they purchase, it isn't really a rental situation, instead, just a bulk discount. Hopefully Apple is priming the masses for a movie store which will utilize this "subscription" model in the very near future. :cool:
 
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