Who Needs iTunes?

I guess we’ll get to see — speaking of which, how’s that TimesSelect thing working out?: CBS Cuts Out Download Middleman [pdf]

CBS would be the first broadcast network to sell its shows via its own Internet storefront. The move signals that CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves believes the network is a potent enough brand that it can go it alone — without Apple Computer Inc.’s popular iTunes software and website — and thus not have to split the spoils.

In launching the “Survivor” downloads, CBS is endorsing a different purchasing model from the one used by iTunes. On CBS.com, buying an episode would be more like a video rental, because buyers have a temporary window in which to view a show.

A buyer of an iTunes download, by contrast, can replay it endlessly.

CBS is hoping that its system may better safeguard future DVD sales of its shows.

“It’s unclear how [iTunes downloads] will affect DVD sales,” said Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital Media.

In addition, CBS wants to protect its overseas markets.