The concept of long tail content is finally picking up, albeit in the closed environment of Apple's iTunes, as UK's largest Free to Air commercial broadcaster, ITV agreed to sell 260 hours of premium content for £1.89 per episode.
The programmes range from Lewis and Cold Feet, Brideshead Revisited to Captain Scarlet and would be compatible with computers, iPods and iPhones but not with other Personal Media Players.
The content will not be available on iTunes until 30 days after they were first broadcast and ITV also announced that it aims at putting "thousands of hours" of original content on iTunes.
ITV.com has delivered on average 4 million videos per month since its launch last august and already has a distribution agreement with Social Networking website Bebo to stream its program to more than 40 million Bebo users worldwide.
Earlier this year, BBC signed a similar agreement with iTunes while also heavily promoting its free iPlayer video on demand service and launching an iPhone and Nintendo Wii compatible version.
Later this year, ITV, Channel4 and BBC will launch a commercial, online Video on Demand catchup service called Kangaroo which will offer both free ad supported and pay-premium content to a worldwide audience and will offer as much as 10,000 hours of programmes initially.