In an apparent reversal of philosphy, Steve Jobs has added a subscription feature into iTunes Music Store. Dubbed Multi-Pass, the $9.99-per-month feature is taking iTunes' two latest additions--Comedy Central's popular The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report--and making them available in a podcastlike subscription, where the show is automatically downloaded to your computer (and then on to an iPod) when available. You can, of course, buy these episodes à la carte.
The difference between this type of subscription and, say, a music subscription is that you get to keep the episodes as long as you'd like well after the subscription period. Since there's no definite starting point for producers and consumers, the Multi-Pass gives you the latest episode, plus the next 15, which works out to be a great deal for true fans of these shows (most individual episodes cost $1.99 each). Steve Jobs had always looked down upon subscription services such as Napster, saying that consumers want to own--not rent--their content. With Multi-Pass, Apple offers the benefits of price, convenience, and ownership though not the entire media library--it's a hybrid subscription/à la carte service, and so far, it looks like the nice move for the nichey TV show market.
Check out the press release