The deal significantly changes Apple’s iTunes pricing policy. Previously, all television shows were priced at $1.99. While most of HBO’s shows will be available at that price, episodes of The Sopranos, Deadwood and Rome will be priced at $2.99.
NBC pulled its programming off iTunes last year, in large part because the network wanted a variable pricing scheme and the ability to bundle programs together. It remains to be seen as to whether HBO’s deal would be flexible enough to bring NBC programming back to the iTunes store, or if Apple is even willing to extend the new pricing to nonpremium networks. A call to comment from Apple was not returned as of writing.
The deal also marks the first time HBO has made its shows available over the Internet on a nationwide scale. The network is testing out streaming of its shows to Time Warner Cable customers in the Green Bay, Wis., area.
HBO will make all 94 episodes from Sex and the City available on the store in advance of the Sex and the City movie, which opens May 30.
A spokesperson for HBO said the network plans to make its entire library of programming available, but the process of getting it ready for iTunes means that at launch, only selected seasons will be available. Eventually, all seasons of HBO-owned programs will be available for purchase.
Unlike most of the other networks that sell shows on iTunes, HBO will make its programs available the same day they premiere on DVD, rather than one or two days after they air on the network.