Just to quickly add my voice to the chorus of those welcoming the BBC's move to make TV shows available for purchase through iTunes, and a few suggestions.
The BBC and Apple last night conspired in a stealth move to make selected shows from the broadcaster available for purchase through iTunes.
That's in addition to those it makes available to Mac users for streaming through iPlayer, and an additional way for users to access the television they want to supplement the time-limited downloads it offers online.
And you have to consider that making hit shows such as Torchwood and The Mighty Boosh available pushes straight into the tastes of the iGeneration. The latter show will likely generate many purchases, such is the power of fans of that series.
(And while DVD releases may be cheaper and ship with more additonal features, for many iPod or Apple TV users the chance to download these series through iTunes will be a tempting choice on those nights when telly sucks).
Right now these shows are only available in the UK. However, as they are being sold through iTunes by BBC Worldwide, it really must just be a question of rights clearances and securing permission from the BBC Trust before US users can get hold of some of the best television content around.
Does it go far enough?
I do think it's promising; I think it's a clear a signal as we're going to get of the BBC's commitment to platform neutrality, is a nice fillip to Mac users anxiously awaiting the chamce to download catch-up content, and also hints that we'll be able to buy and own the entire next series of Doctor Who for our Apple devices come the next series. Hopefully.
I'm looking forward to the debut of content from ITN and Channel 4 on iTunes. I can't avoid the feeling that now the BBC has taken this step, those channels can't be too far behind.
But what we really need to see is back catalogue content on iTunes, here's a few suggestions:
How many of us would download the archive of Michael Parkinson interviews, if these were made available?
Who would like to collect every episode of Doctor Who ever made?
Is it only me who thinks there would be a market for East Enders?
What about classic old shows you can't even purchase on DVD? The Goodies, for example, Porridge, Morecambe and Wise. Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (the original TV show) should be could be a fabulously popular digital offering.
Us in the UK just need to sit down for a few moments to remember all manner of shows we once were addicted to that it would be good to own, to get the kind of casual buying opportunity offered by iTunes.
And then there's costume drama, and I'm completely certain there would be a market for news highlights taken from across the BBC's history.
Now, what's in the way of truly exploring the opportunity of the long tail is copyright law. I am hoping such problems can be resolved.
I'd hate the digital dawn to become nothing more than a point of historical revisionism. I'd hate this to become a cultural Year Zero, in which older shows and TV moments are left behind simply because it's too difficult to secure permissions.
I'm inclined to believe that 99 per cent of television is rubbish, but of the 1 per cent that isn't, the BBC offers a high proportion of what's great about the medium.
Sure, that may change in future as the myopic succession of UK governments continue in their stupidly obsessive attempts to force the BBC into becoming a commercial broadcaster, rather than obeying its public service remit.
As we all know, when unfettered commercialism takes full charge of anything that's any good, quality and content suffer as salesmen and accountants take control. TV, like magazines, slowly becomes no more than content to put the ads between.
Naturally, one of the few commercial companies to manage the balance between hard-nosed commerce and maintenance of what makes the brand attractive in the first place is Apple, because Apple's boss Steve Jobs has an understanding of what matters, and will sacrifice a dollar now in favour of a finer future unveiling and the maintenance of quality within the brand.
Sadly, types like him are few and far between in business.
I digress, signing off I'd simply like to offer my humble welcome for the BBC's unveiling switched-on strategy to stake a place in the digital age.
Like television was at the BBC's inception, digital communications is the future of the media.