BBC signs iTunes download deal

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LONDON -- The BBC's commercial arm has struck a ten series deal with Apple's iTunes for shows including "Torchwood," "Life on Mars" and "Spooks" that will allow viewers to download episodes for 1.89 pounds ($3.70), it was announced by BBC Worldwide Tuesday.

Users will be able to watch the shows on their computers, via the iPhone or on a video iPod.

The deal is a first for the British broadcaster, which has embarked upon a strategy of making its shows available for download after they have aired on BBC channels.

BBC shows will be available to buy via the Apple store after being freely available for download for 30 days after broadcast on the BBC's own license-fee funded download service the I-Player.

The pubcaster has also launched a clip channel on YouTube and has made BBC fare available for download internationally via such services as Amazon, Netflix and MovieLink.

"We want to give audiences a wide variety of options on how and where to view their favorite BBC shows," said Simon Danker, director of digital media at BBC Worldwide.

"With more people now choosing to watch TV shows on their iPods, fans of series such as 'The Mighty Boosh' and 'The Catherine Tate Show' can now enjoy those shows wherever they are."

Apple vp Eddy Cue said BBC shows would be a hit with viewers.

"Television programming has been incredibly popular with iTunes customers in the U.K.," said Cue. "We're thrilled to add hit programming from the BBC with favorites including the latest ratings winner, 'Ashes to Ashes.'"
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