CBS: $1.99 for 24 hours

Meg James reports in today’s LA Times CBS’ decision to strike out, lone-wolf style, without iTunes.

CBS would be the first broadcast network to sell its shows via its own Internet storefront. The move signals that CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves believes the network is a potent enough brand that it can go it alone — without Apple Computer Inc.’s popular iTunes software and website — and thus not have to split the spoils.

Network executives cautioned that the experiment, allowing buyers to view episodes of “Survivor” for just 24 hours after buying them, did not rule out the possibility that CBS later could strike a deal with Apple, which sells popular shows such as ABC’s “Lost” and “Desperate Housewives” for $1.99 an episode.

The 24 hour rule is Moonves’ attempt to placate the local affiliates, who must be terrified. It won’t last. The audience will win out– there are too many other options. The value of downloading shows on iTunes is the convenience, is to watch when and where you want– ‘Lost’ on the plane, for instance. This silly DRM restriction takes away that draw.

UPDATE: I am not alone in finding Moonves’ decision goofy– others are more sanguine.


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