iTunes UK TV downloads disappoint

iTunes UK TV downloads disappointTelevision show downloads have finally made their way to the UK-version of the iTunes Music Store, two years after the service debuted in the U.S. (press release). A cause for celebration you might think? Especially for Mac users who are unable to use competing services from UK broadcasters, all of which employ Windows-only solutions.


As paidContent notes, Apple’s offering is devoid of home-produced content and shows are nearly double the price of their U.S. equivalents.

Apple’s U.K. TV launch… consists of the U.S. store’s original lineup, which was later expanded with shows from other broadcasters. But local programming is almost entirely absent amongst the 28-season repertoire, save for a single season of British stand-up, MTV’s Barrio UK and Nickelodeon’s Genie In The House. At £1.89 ($3.81) per download, shows are nearly twice as pricey as in the States.

On the first issue — the lack of domestic content — it’s particularly disappointing considering that Apple has had two years to negotiate the rights to local programing but instead has simply extended the territories covered by its existing partnerships with ABC Studios, Disney Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon and Paramount Comedy. Why couldn’t Apple have partnered with any of the big local broadcasters to offer download to-own episodes of some of the most popular UK television series?

iTunes UK TV downloads

With regards to iTunes UK’s extortionate pricing, it’s just another example of what locals call “rip off Britain“, where everything costs more this side of the pond (even before adding tax). Something which Apple has traditionally exploited.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

One Response to “iTunes UK TV downloads disappoint”

  1. McDave says:

    I think the answer is in your original text. The networks have invested shed loads of cash in their own proprietary websites to pay ‘internet TV’ enough lipservice for it to be seen to fail so everyone can run back to the safety of network-dominated ‘ real TV’ as it is.

    Why would they then sell the content to a consumer electronics manufacturer, that demonstrably changed the way many people think about music, only to expedite their own demise?

    You’re right that Apple aren’t doing enough here, they should be courting the smaller production houses wherever there’s an iTS with global sales and delivering HiDef content before terrestrial networks know what’s hit them. The additions to the UK iTS are just the start.


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