HBO Squeezes Apple For Higher iTunes Pricing


Tony Soprano and Carrie Bradshaw are coming soon to your iPod.

Home Box Office Tuesday announced it will offer its top shows such as The Sopranos and Sex and The City via Apple’s iTunes online store—but at a higher price point than iTunes’ traditional $1.99 per episode fee.

HBO will make available episodes from such Emmy Award winning series as The Sopranos, Sex and The City, Deadwood and Rome, as well as episodes from critically acclaimed series as Flight Of The Concords and The Wire for downloading to iPods and Apple TV, according to the network.

While most of HBO’s shows will retail at iTunes’ universal $1.99 retail price, content from The Sopranos, Deadwood and Rome will retail at $2.99 per episode, marking the first time Apple has budged on a different price point for individual series.

NBC pulled its content from iTunes last October after Apple refused to test different price points for the broadcast network’s content.

Network executives also said it plans to eventually make available to iPod users some of its original HBO film titles as well as its sports programming, although it’s still working out the details.

"We're very excited to make these legendary HBO programs available on the iTunes Store," said Henry McGee, president of HBO Video in a statement. "Whether catching up on Sex and the City in anticipation of its upcoming movie release or reliving a favorite Sopranos episode, we think viewers will love being able to watch these shows on their iPod or iPhone."

The deal is the second major content deal for Apple’s iTunes this month. The company two weeks ago announced it would selling downloads of new movies from such studios as Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Studios on the same day as their DVD release.