Apple announced Monday that fans of Downton Abbey from Masterpiece Classic can get early access to all Season 3 episodes — including those yet to air on PBS — by purchasing an iTunes "Season Pass," available Jan. 29.
PBS spokesperson Jan McNamara said that is the retail release date of the full DVD set for Season 3, which is available on iTunes through PBS Distribution (PBSd).
"There have always been VHS or DVD release dates within the broadcast window of any given title," McNamara told Current. "In this case iTunes is simply selling a digital version at the same time as the physical DVD becomes available." Stations were informed that the full season would be available from various retailers Jan. 29.
Digital rights to the series are held by Masterpiece, WGBH, Carnival and PBS. Revenue generated through iTunes and DVD sales are invested back into the National Program Service, McNamara said.
PBS closed fiscal 2012 with an $11 million surplus, which included revenues from Downton Abbey and video-on-demand services.