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Puzzled by Digital Content Distribution Deals

Why won't the U.S. Cable MSOs offer 'a la carte' channel selections? Moreover, why aren't the U.S. telcos negotiating 'a la carte' content deals with the major movie studios and television networks? Enquiring minds want to know the answer to these puzzling questions.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group became the latest division of a major Hollywood studio to offer television shows, including the hit sitcom "Friends," for sale on Apple Computer Inc's iTunes Web site.

Warner Bros put up a total of 113 episodes of "Friends," sci-fi series "Babylon 5," the animated classics "The Jetsons" and "The Flintstones," as well as skits from "MADtv" and an unaired pilot called "Aquaman" by the writers of "Smallville." Downloads cost $1.99 per episode, and can be viewed on a computer or video iPod.

Warner Bros, owned by Time Warner Inc, said the move to iTunes was aimed at making its vast library of TV shows available across a wider array of viewing platforms. The studio is the latest to join the rush by content providers to generate revenue from their libraries as growth in DVD sales and television viewership stall. Apple's iTunes store now offers a total of more than 150 TV shows available for purchase from the Fox, ABC, NBC, CBS and MTV networks.

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