HBO to Apple: iWin
Steve Jobs has apparently accepted the unacceptable: Things don’t always go Steve’s way. The mercurial Apple (AAPL) CEO has been notoriously intransigent when it comes to matters of variable pricing on iTunes, arguing that charging higher prices for more popular content might backfire, sending customers off to the file-sharing networks. Now, as predicted yesterday, he appears to have reconsidered that stance, at least when it comes to HBO’s Emmy Award-winning programming.
This morning, Apple’s U.S. iTunes Store began offering six HBO series: “The Wire,” “Flight of the Conchords,” “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “Rome” and “Deadwood.” The first three are priced at iTunes’ standard rate of $1.99 per episode. The second three are $2.99 each, marking the first time Apple has allowed variable pricing for TV shows in the U.S.
Quite a coup for HBO (TWX), especially given some of the other concessions it was able to win from Apple: HBO programs won’t be offered for purchase on iTunes until they hit the DVD window, and new episodes of series won’t be available until months after their TV premiere.