First ep available 24 hours after U.S. bow
LONDON — TV skein “The River” is to bow on iTunes in the U.K. in what is a first for ABC-Disney in the country.Customers will be able buy the first episode of the thriller, exec produced by Steven Spielberg, on Feb. 8, 24 hours after the U.S. bow on ABC. A U.K. broadcast window is expected to follow later in the year, but Disney, which is distributing the skein, was unable to provide details other than saying that negotiations were underway. A season pass for all eight episodes of “The River,” produced by ABC Studios and Amblin Films, is available from Tuesday for £9.99 ($16) for standard definition or $20 for high definition. Single episodes cost $3 (SD) or $4 (HD). “The River” is a missing person saga that follows a TV wildlife expert who disappears in the Amazon. Executive producer Oren Peli said, “Right from the start, we’ve had a global audience in mind for ‘The River’ — the show preys on universal human fears, and follows a journey to an exotic, remote setting.” Other content owners will be watching closely to see how “The River” performs on iTunes. U.K. terrestrial free-to-air web ITV is expected to introduce micropayments for some of its shows in the coming months, but the initiative has already been delayed. Whether ITV would premiere a new show online remains to be seen.