Will iTunes Kill Cable?


I don’t watch a lot of television, so for me, the iTunes music store’s growing list of shows available for commercial-free download is great. If this keeps up, I might be able to do away with the cable company all together. Oh, what a wonderful day that would be.

There is just one problem – the cost. I like Law & Order as much as the next guy, but I have a hard time with the idea of paying $34.99, half of one month’s cable bill, just for one season of Criminal Intent. Of course, that does include all 14 episodes in the current season as well as the rest of the season. And, it is actually less than the $42.99 it will cost for all of season 1.

This is where the math bothers me. It costs $42.99 to get all 22 episodes of season 1 through iTunes, 4 cents less per episode than downloading them each at $1.99, but the same shows on DVD over at Amazon cost only $29.97. What gives?

The Season Pass works out a little better, but it’ll still cost $1.59 per episode assuming the current season also has 22 shows.

I’m also a big fan of Scrubs, and when iTunes added to their line-up, I was really excited. I even bought a couple of shows I had already missed, but why does each 21-minute episode cost the same as a 43-minute episode of Lost. How about a little break here?

Season Passes are a great idea, and I hope iTunes will continue adding them. I also hope they will look closer at their rate structure. Commercial-free television is worth a little extra, but three Season Passes will add up to nearly $100 quickly.

Maybe iTunes could consider a small amount of advertising for the television shows to offset the cost. I wouldn’t mind a 30 second spot at the start of the episode if the rest of the show were uninterrupted. They could even offer a commercial-free download at a higher price for those willing to pay it.

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