Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
Hensons prove value of niche media on iTunes.

Okay, this is a fantastic data point in my recent research into niche media groups – specifically, the Jim Henson Company. As of today, Fraggle Rock and Farscape are available on iTunes.

Why is this big news? Because Farscape is infamous for being a difficult show to collect. First, because it's been reissued in several different (and confusing) editions – the Starburst collections, which split each season up into multiple discs, are often found sitting side-by-side on the shelves of Borders or Barnes and Noble with the complete season collections. What the two editions have in common are the fact that they're both excruciatingly expensive: The Complete First Season is only available on Amazon used for a whopping $296.99, and the Complete Second Season is on sale for $79.49, marked down from a ludicrous $149.98. Jesus!

Unfortunately, this makes sense for a niche product like Farscape or Doctor Who because they don't have the same economy of scale as something like LOST – similar overhead and smaller budgets and smaller markets all translate into higher price tags – except when you start dealing with digital distribution, which chops out the costs of manufacturing, shipping and so on. On iTunes, Season One is a much more palatable $39.99. True, this wouldn't include all the extras as the DVDs, but the Amazon listing for Season Two doesn't seem to include any extras. Now, if only the iTunes store delivered each episode in a higher resolution...

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