ITunes subscribes to ABC

Touchstone's 'Scrubs' making its debut on format today

ABC is making “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” the first network entertainment shows available for download on a subscription basis via Apple’s iTunes.

In addition, “Scrubs” — the NBC laffer produced by Alphabet sibling Touchstone Television — is expected to make its iTunes debut today, insiders said (Daily Variety, March 7).

As for “Lost” and “DH,” consumers can now buy the entire current season of both Touchstone TV-produced shows on iTunes for $34.99 — about $14 less than what a full season would cost if episodes were bought individually. Skeins are being sold as part of Apple’s “Season Pass” program.

After buying a season pass, consumers can immediately download all previously broadcast episodes from the current season. Remaining segs are placed in customers’ download queue the day after they air on ABC.

Advantage of the program is that it allows nets to quickly monetize a full season of a show rather than rely on consumers to remember to download each week’s episodes.

ABC has been selling the first seasons of “DH” and “Lost” on iTunes since the fall. According to ABC TV Group digital topper Albert Cheng, consumers had been bombarding Apple with requests for the “Season Pass” program.

“I won’t say it’s something we’ll do for every show, but it’s something we wanted to respond to,” Cheng said.

While “Lost” and “DH” are already major hits, it’s not hard to imagine that in the not-too-distant future, nets will allow auds to support low-rated skeins by pre-ordering entire seasons of a show via the “Season Pass” program. Fox’s “Arrested Development,” for example, might have been offered a more attractive financial model if, say, 1 million fans had purchased a full season in advance.

(Ben Fritz contributed to this report.)