iTunes Puts Expensive Content on Sale

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has put some ultra-premium content on sale, or even made it “free,” most likely as an attempt to get more people to use iTunes for movies and TV shows. As Apple tries to take even a modest part of the streaming media market, it has resorted to aggressive sales tactics.

The content Apple is promoting includes new shows, some of which have been put on the market before they are available elsewhere. Time Warner’s new “Good Behavior” is part of the iTunes “free” package.  The show’s eight episodes star Michele Dockery  of “Downtown Abbey” fame.

“MARS,” from famous producer/director duo Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, is also free. The four episodes would normally cost $14.99.

Kiefer Sutherland, who had a spectacular run in “24,” is the star of “Designated Survivor,” a show about a flunky member of an administration in which all the people above him die and he becomes the President. In this case, iTunes offers the package for $39.99, which does not seem like much of a bargain.

iTunes was once the king of content, particularly when its early music service dominated the streaming and download portion of that industry. Married with the iPod and early versions of the iPhone, it combined the largest online content store and the most popular hardware on which to play them.

Apple has since lost its pole position and has to play catch up. Its new content offerings, and their pricing, are a sign of that. Whether it can compete with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) remains to be seen.