Amazon has expanded the TV shows available via its Unbox service thanks to a distribution deal time with Showtime. Episodes of Weeds, The L Word, Sleeper Cell, Penn and Teller: BS!, Fat Actress, and Free For All are available at $1.99 apiece. The pilot for one new show that Showtime is promoting heavily, Dexter, will cost a penny for a week and then move to the $1.99 price point. Also within the past 24 hours, Internet TV startup Instant Media has announced a deal with Twentieth Century Fox for both movies (X-Men: The Last Stand, The Sentinel, Just My Luck)and TV shows (Prison Break).
In the months to come, we’ll see more and more of these deals: some exclusive, some not. Eventually, of course, everything will be available everywhere. We’ve never heard of a broad retail chain not selling Universal CDs or selling only Disney DVDs. But digital distribution isn’t as mainstream yet as the local Wal-Mart, so we’ll see plenty more of these pairings as we head in that direction. We haven’t seen hard numbers, but it’s easy to wonder how much the content providers are leaving on the table by taking this incremental approach.