Thursday, February 11, 2010

$1 TV Episodes for iPad?

Apple could begin selling U.S. television shows for $1, half of its charge on its iTunes digital media store, on the iPad, the Financial Times reports. If Apple does so, it would mean at least some U.S. content owners have decided to take the gamble of offsetting lower retail price points with higher sales.

As powerful as "free" might be for many products, $1 likewise has proven to be an enormously
successful price point for mobile application store downloads, for example. Also, Redbox DVD
rentals are priced at $1, and that price point has been gaining traction.

Apple has been selling TV episodes for about $2 each on its iTunes store, while high-definition fare that displays well on a TV set sells for $3 an episode.

Video entertainment has been a big part of thinking about what new market the iPad might be able to create, between the smartphone and the notebook or netbook PC.

Apple also has been in discussions with content owners about a “best of TV” subscription service, perhaps offered at about $30 a month, that hopefully would create a new niche in the market as well, more than one-off downloads and streaming but less than the full channel line-up that customers can buy from cable, satellite or telco providers.

The trick, of course, is to create a new niche that does not automaticaly cannibalize the value of other existing channels. That is likely one reason why Apple has not tried to create a subscription TV service for its Apple TV device.

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