HBO, which has always made it interminably difficult to find any of its shows online (that’s because they aren’t, at least legally), is close to announcing a deal with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) to sell its wares on iTunes, reports Portfolio, citing sources. The announcement will come in a week or so, the story says, and this is the first time Apple has agreed to a separate price structure for a content provider (read better than others).
No more details, but could be that the individual TV shows would be more than the standard $1.99 pricing on iTunes for other companies. Or that HBO gets more cut of the same $1.99 pie. Of course if HBO, part of Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), gets this deal, Apple would be forced to reconsider the same deal for others, at least in the medium to long term. NBCU pulled its TV shows from iTunes for this exact reason last year.
This starts the gradual opening up of HBO’s vault online, which has previously maintained that cable VOD is the best way to go “on demand”, not online. It has recently done some experiments with streaming some episodes of its new shows on its site. Then, earlier this year it launched HBO On Broadband, its broadband video service for Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) customers in some areas, restricted only to ISP subscribers.