Showtime has become the latest network to board the iTunes train.
Cable network announced Tuesday that original shows “Sleeper Cell,” “Weeds” and the short-lived “Fat Actress” are now available on the Apple music store service.
Deal marks the first time a pay channel has made full-length episodes of its originals available online for purchase.
Showtime chairman Matt Blank called the partnership ideal because it would expose the network’s shows to a much bigger audience.
“Our content is only available in 14 million homes to begin with,” Blank said. “It gives people who don’t get Showtime a chance to sample and see how strong our product is.”
First seasons of all three shows are currently available for the standard $1.99 per episode rate.
As for whether or not this new access to Showtime series drives subs to the main channel, Blank said if they don’t sign up “(deal) is still a great ancillary revenue stream for us. We win either way.”
Showtime sister web CBS has yet to make a deal with Apple to make its programming accessible on iTunes. Eye, however, has already made new episodes of “Survivor” available for a 24-hour “rental period” on its official Web site CBS.com, also at the $1.99 rate. In addition, other CBS shows “CSI” and “The Amazing Race” are available on Google Video.
Apple’s iTunes store has sold a total of 12 million pieces of video content since it first started offering them in October. That’s about $24 million of revenue split between Apple and content providers like Disney, NBC U, and diskeries selling musicvideos.