Apple sells a million video downloads in 20 days

iTunes video download

Apple just sent out a press release announcing that they've sold more than one million video downloads through the iTunes Music Store (they know as well as we do that sooner or later they're going to have to change that name). They don't break it down by type — we'd be curious to know how well TV shows are selling compared with music videos — but they do say that their best-sellers so far have been music videos from Michael Jackson (?!), Fatboy Slim, and Kanye West, Pixar's "For the Birds" and "Boundin'," and episodes of "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives." So is a million video downloads in just under three weeks any good? There isn't really anything else to compare it to, since no one else sells downloads of network TV shows online. (We should note that it only took Apple a week to sell a million music downloads in the week after they launched the iTunes Music Store back in 2003, though that was with a larger catalog of content and, of course, a lower purchase price.) Hopefully the movie studios and networks will consider this enough of a success to start offering more of their content for download online. We only hope they don't learn the wrong lesson: just because some people are willing to pay two bucks for a DRMed, 320 x 240 res download of "Lost" doesn't mean that there aren't people who want to download the show in high-def. A lot of those potential customers are already downloading the show — in high-def — for free using BitTorrent, and if you're going to convince a lot of them to pay, you're going to have to offer higher-resolution downloads at lower cost and with less cumbersome DRM; otherwise, why would they bother? Man, we're just wasting our time, aren't we?

[Thanks, Tom & Dave]