With Multi-Pass, Apple has once again turned the mobile content market on its head

“Look out, bears: Apple has once again turned the mobile content market on its head. Thank Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert; fans of Comedy Central’s late-night dynamic duo are being given the option to subscribe to downloads of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report for $9.99 though the iTunes online store [Multi-Pass]. The fee covers a month’s worth of shows, or 16 episodes. (Single viewings will also be sold for the usual $1.99 per-video price tag.) The move marks Apple’s first foray into the subscription model for digital downloading, a strategy which has been common among competitors such as Napster and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody. However, unlike those services, where you effectively rent the music, customers own the episodes of The Daily Show that they download via iTunes,” Tim Beyers writes for The Motley Fool.

“With this deal, the growing iTunes video library, and the emergence of media-savvy PCs like the Mac mini, it’s becoming increasingly clear that consumers will someday be able to forgo traditional TV altogether, downloading only what they want, and replaying it commercial-free,” Beyers writes. “Comedy Central’s new deal with Apple has the potential to alter the economics of mobile content, again. And that can mean only one thing: Disney, CBS, NBC, News Corp., and, well, every other content provider on the planet, might also find themselves on notice.”

Full article here.

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35 Comments

  1. I’m still failing to see how this is a “foray into the subscription model”. This is a pre-order/bulk discount, you still own the episode after the month is up, even if you don’t buy the following month.

    The current “digital subscription model” used by Napster and others is a “never-never” plan, where you never stop paying, and you never own the download.

  2. Eddy – Whether I subscribe to a magazine for 3 months, 1 year or more years I get to keep the magazine. And I can cancel it anytime I want.

    This is a one month subscription for a particular program.
    Apple is market testing to see how it works out.
    Watch for other subscription ideas to come from them.

  3. It is Napster and others that have twisted the idea of a subscription. What the others have is a rental/leasing scheme.

    Somehow I think Disney will get on board with the multi-pass pretty quickly.

  4. They just fail to see that you have to pay two or three times for a song on Napster to actually OWN it and even with the multipass Apple only charges you ONCE. They make it cheaper instead of a lot more expensive to get what you want on-the-go and on cd…

  5. It sounds good, but has anybody else had a problem with the shows updating? I bought the pass for The Daily Show, and have only gotten one episode so far. I did, in fact, purchase the pass, not just one episode. I have the documentation. And I contacted Apple.. but I haven’t gotten a response yet. So.. just wondering.. anybody else having the same problem?

  6. i agree with iSteve.

    Its comparable to a subscription for a magazine: pay up front, get a better deal, keep it. napster, etc are more similar to renting, but even that doesn’t fit. Its like getting pass to visit several theme parks or something. the other ones are more of a “pass” while this is more of a subscription. whatever. $10. daily show. no problem.

  7. Jason, try “Check for New Purchases” under the Advanced menu, or go to the apple forums. I’ve had problems with that before, but its worked fine with the Daily show.

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