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Today, it's "Desperate Housewives" & "Lost." Tomorrow, it's ... ?

Today, it's "Desperate Housewives" & "Lost." Tomorrow, it's ... ?

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Well, I've been waiting a while for Steve Jobs to make this announcement:

Apple Announces iTunes 6 With 2,000 Music Videos, Pixar Short Films & Hit TV Shows

ABC's "Desperate Housewives" & "Lost" Episodes Available for Just $1.99

SAN JOSE, California?October 12, 2005?Apple® today announced iTunes® 6, the next generation of the world's most popular music jukebox and online music store. iTunes 6 lets fans purchase and download over 2,000 music videos and six short films from Academy-Award winning Pixar Animation Studios for just $1.99 each. Also, in a landmark deal with Disney, iTunes is now offering current and past episodes from two of the most popular shows on television, "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost," as well as the new drama series "Night Stalker" and the two most popular shows from Disney Channel, "That's So Raven" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," for just $1.99 per episode. Customers can now purchase and download their favorite television shows from iTunes the day after they air on TV, watch them on their Mac® or PC, and Auto-Sync them onto the new iPod® for viewing anywhere.

Copyright 2005 Apple Computer, Inc.

"We're doing for video what we've done for music?we're making it easy and affordable to purchase and download, play on your computer, and take with you on your iPod," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Right out of the gate we're offering 2,000 music videos, Pixar's short films and hit primetime TV shows like 'Desperate Housewives' and 'Lost'."

But what I didn't see coming was this follow-up comment at the same event in San Jose by Disney CEO Bob Iger:

"For the first time ever, hit primetime shows can be purchased online the day after they air on TV," said Robert Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Company. "We're delighted to be working with Apple to offer fans a new and innovative way to experience our wildly popular shows like 'Desperate Housewives' 'Lost' and 'That's So Raven'.

So what I'm now wondering is a question I can imagine many of you are also pondering.

Does this signal Disney is about to make use of this new delivery technology to bring us home video on demand; specifically can we expect more Disney video content on iTunes?

Well, I don't know about everyone else, but I sure hope so! With so many DVD players in homes around the world, it is (and likely will be for some time to come) a safe bet that Disney (and all of the other home video companies) won't be abandoning the sales of DVD titles.

But imagining a scenario like this seems all too possible:

Say you want to have your very own copy of a Disney film. Even one of the many short films, let's say 1951' "Out of Scale" with Donald Duck and his backyard model railroad as invaded by Chip and Dale. But you really don't want to try and track down a DVD copy of the disc, "Cartoon Classic Favorites: Starring Chip and Dale" at your local video store or wait for it to be delivered by UPS from one of the online stores.

With the growth of broadband access for the home computer, waiting for that seven-minute short subject to be downloaded does not take very long. And if it were priced along the lines of the iTunes model at $1.99 (or something similar) it wouldn't be all that inconceivable that consumers would take full advantage of such an opportunity.

iTunes currently has a similar feature already in place for jazz fans with its releases from the Verve vault. Rare recordings out-of-print are available for a limited time and at the usual price of $9.99 or less.

Considering how well iTunes has done with legal music sales online, can legal sales of videos like this be fare behind? Why, you could sell some of those favorites from Vault Disney that have yet to make it onto DVD's. Might even quiet some of the more vocal critics or fans in the process. Why not offer an entire themed selection, such as December being an all Christmas offering? The potential for getting that content out of storage and into the revenue stream has to be too good to pass up, in my opinion.

Copyright 2005 Apple Computer, Inc.

And why should Disney be the only studio to take advantage of such an opportunity? How about Paramount with all of those episodes of every show from the Star Trek franchise just waiting to be sold through this new delivery channel? I know a whole bunch of Trekkers and Trekkies who would be ready to take advantage of it. And the same has to be true of every episode of any television show or video or film product just sitting in storage. Why wait for expensive video marketing campaigns when you can put the content online at a much lower cost and maximize those dollars on the new content coming out in the theaters.

But the opportunities don't stop there. All kinds of films see a DVD printing and then disappear from store shelves. Likely many of them won't be back until the next craze in media for home players changes. And it will, too. Just as we went from VHS to Laser Disc to DVD's now to UMD's, who knows what the next few years will offer? Why wait to find out, when you can go digital now and take the money and run? I hear the lure of increased profits calling to make stockholders happy...

There is so much great content out there that is not cost effective to release on DVD. What about all of the kinescopes of the great live television shows such as Playhouse 90? This seems a perfect way to make a buck off of those. Or why not more of the classic television such as sports content? Download that favorite NASCAR race or NFL Superbowl. If last year's World Series win by the Boston Red Sox can become a big seller on DVD, just think of how much money could be made from sales of all of those World Series games from the past! I know there are a few I would dearly love to have to watch again. Heck, even classic television commercials might become content to be downloaded again and again by consumers.

All one can say is, who knows what the next few months will bring for this new and exciting home video delivery channel. Stay tuned!

Earlier this year, you all generously helped out by supporting the efforts toward relief of the victims of the Tsunami. If you can see your way to doing so again, the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita now face many of the same daily challenges for basic necessities. The need is every bit as real and as serious. Consider a donation to the American Red Cross if you can. Every bit helps, even more now...

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