Apple has quietly begun selling some shows in advance of their TV premieres in the US.
Broadcasters appear willing to experiment with new business models, particularly as early trials have shown that making shows available online boosts, rather than reduces, viewing figures.
Comedy Central yesterday made a new episode of its popular US "Drawn Together" show available for no fee through iTunes yesterday. The special iTunes premiere will be available to US users at no charge for just one week.
Nickelodeon last week added a new episode of Zoey 101 called "Girls Will Be Boys" - two days before it broadcast the show on network TV. This show costs $1.99. Nickelodeon will add six more episodes of Zoey 101 from Season Two to iTunes.
Also reflecting the pre-broadcast pattern, Nickelodeon confirmed it will release the season finale of "South of Nowhere" through iTunes on February 2 - one full day before it broadcasts on-air on February 3.
"We are thrilled to premiere a new episode prior to its network airing and to launch Comedy Central video content on iTunes," said Michele Ganeless, general manager of the company. "Partnering with Apple extends our brand to the burgeoning iTunes audience and further strengthens our commitment to providing our viewers access to programming - anytime, anywhere."
Recent reports claim broadcasters make over $1 on each iTunes download, in comparison to $0.54 on each viewer of conventionally broadcast content.
However, UK iPod users will have to wait awhile until they get to access television programming through iTunes. An Apple spokesperson said: "At present it is US-focused. Nothing to say regarding outside the US".