Apple launches subscriptions to TV shows and sporting events

Adding to its growing list of available content for download to a PC or iPod, Apple Computer has now implemented subscriptions for TV shows and a season pass for network sports.

Apple is now offering two of Comedy Central’s premium programs on a monthly subscription basis through its iTunes music and video store. Also, it will also offer, in conjunction with CBS Sports, the 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on a season pass basis.

In partnership with Comedy Central owner MTV Networks, Apple is distributing “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.” Viewers will be able to buy the next month’s series of 16 new episodes via MultiPass for $9.99, or to pay $1.99 per episode.

Eddy Cue, vice president of Apple’s iTunes, told Reuters that MultiPass is not a typical Web subscription service, but one where the viewer retains the downloaded file after the subscription expires.

Last week, Apple and CBS Sports announced that the 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament would be made available on the iTunes Music Store. The condensed games will cost $1.99 each or $19.99 for a season pass, which includes all 63 games.

In addition to the individual games, full-length versions of this year’s semifinals and championship game, as well as compilations of buzzer beaters, upsets and memorable championship games from past NCAA tournaments will also be available on iTunes. The compilations are not part of the season pass and will sell for $1.99 each.

The games will be available to customers the day after they air on CBS and will automatically be added to the download cue.

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