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August 27, 2015

What is your tipping point for digital TV episode pricing?

by Brett Love, posted Sep 13th 2007 12:02PM
iPod Touch - LostOver the last few days I have been seeing a whole mess of reports about Apple's proposed slashing of television episode prices to the familiar 99 cents. It all comes in the wake of NBC's reported plan to jack those same prices up to $4.99. That's a pretty good sized gap when you start talking about 20-plus episode seasons. So, I'm wondering, if you aren't buying digital TV episodes yet, what's the number that gets you on board? And if you are already on that bus, at what price point do you ring the bell and tell Kramer this is your stop?

For me, the 99 cent price would probably get me on board for a couple of my favorite shows. At $1.99, the math just works out too close to DVD prices, and then one of the voices in my head starts prattling on about higher quality, and extras, and how we can just use handbrake if we really need to have Psych on our phone. We've heard what NBC wants, and what Apple wants, but hit the poll after the jump so we can find out what the viewers want.

What are you willing to pay for your digital TV episodes?
$0.00 Torrents baby.177 (29.7%)
$.99 works for me.360 (60.4%)
$1.99. If it ain't broke, and all that.54 (9.1%)
$4.99, because I'm Jeff Zucker!5 (0.8%)

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The current pricing is fine by me for purchasing TV shows.

Of course, I'm in Australia so I can't buy any TV from online stores. At least BitTorrent doesn't care where I live.

I'd buy if I could. I can't. Maybe there's a lesson in there somewhere for the labels/networks/stores.

September 15 2007 at 11:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Horse N. Buggy

Any price is really too high for me to buy from iTunes on a regular basis. If I like the show enough to buy a whole season, I will probably wait to buy the DVD (and get all the extras). I also use a DVR from my cable company, so I rarely miss shows. If I did need to catch up on just one missed show, I would probably buy it at iTunes in the $1-$2 range, but not at $5.

The only time I buy multiple shows of a series is when I fear the show is in danger of being canceled. I know my DVR watching habits don't boost ratings, but I believe that iTunes purchases do. Of course, this iTunes buying scheme didn't save "Studio 60" last year, but I'm hoping that it will help get me a 5th season of Stargate Atlantis.

September 14 2007 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i always buy psych for $2 because i have no other chance to see it(i do not have tivo). otherwise i watch shows on on demand because they are free. Occasionally i will buy a show because i am going on a trip and want to watch it. also, i enjoy buying shows from iTunes because i can watch them over and over again. i think i have watched every episode that i have bought at least 3 times. Also, i do not mind the quality drop from watching it on my ipod, although i do wish we could have the extras.

September 14 2007 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris the marketer

I just don't agree with Apple's one price fits all schema. I want an open system that allows producers to set their own price to apple/etc. then apple decides what there margin is and sets a consumer price.

If NBC wants to price at 4.99 the first week, 2.49 the second week, and .99 thereafter- more power to them.

or if HBO wants alacarte episodes only be available if you subscribe to a HBO-Itunes-onDemand service for 24.99 a month, then thats fine to.

Let the producer decide the price
let the consumer decide if they want to buy it

September 14 2007 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The new iPods will output 480P to a TV, so you're not stuck watching a small screen.

Do the math: 12 TV show seasons * $22 = $264 per year.
12 months of cable or satellite @ $50/month = $600, and that's on the low end.

September 14 2007 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I only watch one or two shows in a given television season. Because of this, I don't have cable anymore ... it wouldn't be cheaper in my case to have a DVR, since the cable bill every month would be way higher than what I pay on iTunes for just those two shows. This is why I am so sad that NBC is leaving iTunes ... how will I watch BSG now?

September 13 2007 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

and, of course, it would have to be available in canada before i could spend any money on it.

September 13 2007 at 7:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i would pay 1.99 for dvd-quality, drm free downloads that were made available immediately after the show aired. i will never pay any money for a product that is not as good as what i can get on the torrents

September 13 2007 at 7:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I like to have a couple favorite eps of favorite shows with me on my iPod when I travel on a plane. It's good comfort! But that's about the extent of my purchasing.

September 13 2007 at 7:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As others have said, I think the $1.99 is a tad high only because the price equals physical DVD copies which (a) contain extras and (b) are available at a much higher resolution. I’d think somewhere in the $1.25 to $1.50 range would be best.

The reality is, digital downloads are more of a marketing tool than they are an alternative form of distribution. I wouldn’t regularly watch a show on iTunes but it has gotten me hooked on shows that I now watch. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t watch the Closer if I hadn’t found it on iTunes and decided to give it a try.

That is the beauty of iTunes. It allows me to pick an episode up on my schedule and watch it right away which is something I wouldn’t do if I had to wait until the next time it was on or pick up a whole DVD set. Given that fact, I think a lower price actually benefits the networks in that it makes a person more likely to make the leap and try out new shows.

Plus, it should be said that a person who tries a show out, likes it, and then goes out and buys the DVD set is actually giving the studios extra money. It isn’t as if people get discounts on DVD sets for the digital copies they own so any money spent on those copies is pure gravy to the studios.

September 13 2007 at 5:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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