HBO’s stuff is going to appear on iTunes. So far, I only see the first seasons of the shows I’m interested in (Rome, Deadwood, and most of all The Wire) but I assume it won’t be long.
The first thing a lot of folks latched onto was Apple being “forced” to be flexible on pricing by making some of the shows $2.99. Since most HBO shows don’t have ad breaks, and sometimes don’t even fit inside an hour, and are made to higher standards than typical network TV shows, this is hardly unreasonable. Two episodes of The Wire equals three episodes of Law & Order. Fair enough.
It’s worth noting that it’s $1.99 for some pretty short format stuff on iTunes, and that many super-long music tracks are “album only” in the music section. So this doesn’t seem, to me, to be comparable to Apple caving to HBO where it didn’t cave to NBC.
Oh yeah, and Cable TV: I think your number is up.
By the way, here’s a letter by David Simon to fans of The Wire after wrapping up the final season. It’s a rather depressing commentary on the state of US society and politics.