iTunes gets the joke

Cabler teams up with download service

Comedy Central and iTunes have sealed a first-of-its-kind deal to make news satires “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” available to users via subscription.

Viewers will have the option to purchase a “Multi-Pass” for either or both shows, giving them access to a month’s worth — 16 episodes — of the program for a $9.99 flat rate. Users can also opt to download singles at the standard $1.99 per episode fee.

“Multi-Pass” subscribers will have episodes of the current season delivered automatically to computers immediately after they air on Comedy Central.

For certain shows such as “Lost,” iTunes already allows users to download complete collections of past seasons’ episodes at a discounted rate, but the Comedy Central pact marks the first time subscribers can purchase TV programs in advance.

Deal also makes iTunes the first new media platform to offer up full-length episodes of “Daily Show” and “Colbert.” Highlights from both shows are available on Comedy Central’s broadband channel MotherLoad and Verizon’s VCast, but entire episodes have not been made available anywhere else until now.

Comedy Central noted that repeat airings of “Daily” and “Colbert” will not be included in the 16 consecutive episodes purchased.

Laffer net’s other iTunes offerings include “South Park,” “Drawn Together” and specials from “Comedy Central Stand-Up.” Latter has ranked among the most downloaded TV programs on iTunes.