itunes video content for Europe at last

31 01 2007

Yesterday the Government of Luxembourg confirmed that Apple inc were setting up their European base there to start video distribution over itunes. Luxembourg is already home to a few other European headquarters of major corporations like Amazon and AOL (hey, wait a minute, they all start with A as well). Apparently it’s because Luxemborg have the lowest rates of VAT in Europe. So anyway, the economy minister Jeannot Krecke blabbed and I’m sure Apple are resisting the urge to sue the pants off the whole country.

“Apple is going to extend its electronic retail activities in Luxembourg by launching this coming spring its iTunes video platform for the sale of videos in Europe.”

What this means for consumers outside the US is that for the first time they will be able to buy TV programs from the itunes store, but who has signed up for this dealie in the UK? Well I read in Broadcast last week the Channel 4 head of New Media mention that they were in talks with Apple for something, and being a TV company I’m assuming it was this.

BBC have a huge catalogue of hits, but how would the UK public feel about paying for programs that they already paid for through the TV licence? I would buy Hi-Def documentaries in a second, but I’m sure someone would take them to court to get some freebies.

All ITV’s hits of late have been reality based, and we all know they are worthless the moment they have been aired. Nobody is going to pay to watch the time Gareth Gates stuttered on Pop Idol, or the time Tara Palmer Tomkinson ate a live cat (I may have made that up) on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here. Again, they have a huge back catalogue, but in their case not a lot of it appeals to 18-34 year olds, who I am wildly generalising use itunes more than any other age group.

As for five, they just don’t have enough original production, but with a little renegotiation I’m sure they could relicence CSI for use on itunes. Or maybe try and make back some money on Trippin Over.

So I think it will be the smaller channels that need a little leg up and a bit of exposure that may make the launch of this service. Which is not necessarily a bad thng. There is a lot of Flextech stuff, Paramount Comedy and Sci-Fi Channel programs that I don’t see because they are lost in the Sky EPG. Now could be the time for people to find them.

The main reason Apple want to get the video stuff sorted is for the launch of Apple TV in Europe. For those that don’t know, this is a box that plugs into your TV, and streams all your media from your Mac or PC to your widescreen TV. There is debate as to whether you need an HDTV, but I think you can get away with an old school CRT. Watch a demo of the Apple TV interface here.

Looks pretty slick to me, a sleeker version of Front Row. So people of the UK rejoice, if only for the fact that Game On and Spaced may well be available to buy, for those of us too poor to go and buy the DVD’s! Huzzah!

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9 responses

31 01 2007

“BBC have a huge catalogue of hits, but how would the UK public feel about paying for programs that they already paid for through the TV licence? I would buy Hi-Def documentaries in a second, but I’m sure someone would take them to court to get some freebies.”

Do the BBC give away free DVDs of their back catalogue? No, you buy them in shops, like everything else. So why would they have a problem with selling downloads via iTunes when they already have a massive DVD retail presence?

31 01 2007

Every now and then I see someone on a forum (normally digital spy) bring up the issue about paying for DVD’s funded by the TV licence, and I think it’s quite a valid argument.

At a push, the BBC could say the manufacturing cost, packaging, shipping to retail and DVD extras are all funded by them, and so are worth the cost.

But if they put “Waking The Dead” or “Spooks” on iTunes for £1.99, the day after it aired on BBC One, and it was available on their iMP for free as required by OFcom, people may ask questions maybe?

I don’t know, like I said I would pay for them, but it would only take one objection to ruin it for everyone.

19 04 2007

The simple answer to the dilemma of the BBC is that they would make BBC Content available through their own On-Demand iPlayer online within the UK for BBC License Fee payers, and outside the UK they would generate income from selling content through iTunes.

The BBC could make a fortune through iTunes if they manage ir properly…look at their science and coumentary back-catalogue for example – I’d happily pay £2 or £3 for each episode of Horizon!


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