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‘River’ to make U.K. bow on iTunes

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.

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