Apple Nabbing HBO Shows?

Apple will reportedly announce a deal to sell HBO shows next week, according to Portfolio. If true, the move would be a big win for the iTunes store and Apple TV and would finally make HBO content available online in a meaningful way.

Reportedly, the HBO deal would also be the first time Apple has agreed to flexible pricing for content. Whether this means Apple will charge consumers more than $1.99 per show or just absorb the higher cost it would pay to HBO is unknown. But flexible pricing is what drove NBC shows off iTunes last year.

Read More about Apple Nabbing HBO Shows?

Coming Soon, HBO on iTunes?

I have had a cable TV-free life for almost over a year, though I did subscribed to it when my mother was visiting earlier this year when I was unwell. I have not missed it – though I do miss the thrill of watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart live. The jokes somehow seem funnier. Apart from that, the only other thing I miss watching was Entourage and a few other HBO shows. Not anymore.

Portfolio.com reports that HBO shows and movies are going to be available on iTunes very soon. The shows are going to be more expensive (because HBO wants a bigger slice of the monies.) My Apple TV is becoming incrementally useable by the month [insert sarcasm]. For HBO, this move could help overcome some of its past broadband TV mistakes. As an aside, thanks to iTunes, I am now seriously addicted to “The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman.”

HBO’s decision is yet another sign that large video content owners are finally realizing that they can make money off online video downloads and advertising. NewTeeVee has a curtain raiser on the role digital is going to play at this year’s upfronts in New York.

Do Movies Matter on Pay TV?

Why do you subscribe to HBO or Showtime, is it for the movies or the original series? It’s a question that sprang to mind when Viacom, Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM announced they were creating a new pay TV network. There was a lot of hubbub over Showtime losing all of those theatrical films, but in a post-Sopranos, Weeds-filled era, do movies on pay TV networks even matter anymore?

To find out, I spoke with reps from both Showtime and HBO, and the answer I got was a mixed bag.

Perhaps it’s just putting on a brave face in light of its loss, but Showtime says that while movies are still important to the network, more people are signing up for the original series like The Tudors and Dexter. According to the Showtime spokesperson, 18 of the network’s top 20 shows in 2007 were originals.

Read More about Do Movies Matter on Pay TV?

Time Warner Begins Death by 1,000 Cuts

The giant Time Warner implosion starts now with the move to split off its growing cable division and use the capital to buy back shares. While the cable business brought some stability to Time Warner’s bottom line, it’s an awkward asset for a content company to hold onto, especially if the content side of the business is thinking about divestitures. And so it begins.

The nation’s second-largest cable operator will be the first to go. CEO Jeff Bewkes said today that Time Warner would split off the remaining 84 percent of its cable division with details to be worked out later. Then we’ll look for a spin out or sale of the diminishing AOL access line business, which Time Warner plans to separate from the flailing Platform A advertising business.

The logical next step is a retreat from the publishing world with magazines such as Fortune, People and Time going on the block. What will be left are the movie businesses, including Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema, and cable TV properties such as HBO and TBS. Those units brought in sales of $5.5 billion during the quarter but are under continued pressure from the Internet. Like an aging matron, Time Warner appears to be taking refuge in the arms of old Hollywood.