Mad Men takes a pass on TV

A deal between Maple Pictures and iTunes makes season three available only through the online store.

Mad Men is breaking with convention and will bypass traditional broadcasters in Canada in favour of an exclusive online deal with Apple.

Season three of the award-winning series will be available for download on iTunes Canada following a deal with distributor Maple Pictures, making it one of the most prominent shows to forgo a conventional broadcaster in favour of the Internet.

The series will, however, continue to run on its home network, AMC, which is carried here by certain cable and satellite systems such as Rogers and Bell TV.

Season three begins on the US cable channel this Sunday. The deal, expected to be formally announced on Monday, will make episodes available for download at midnight after each airing, playable on computers and mobile devices. Each will cost $2.49 in standard definition and $3.49 in high def.

Previously, the series was carried here by CTV, which ran season one amid much hoopla in 2008. Season two aired on its secondary A network.

The network says seasons one and two will continue to be streamed on its website. There was no immediate word from CTV on how the network and Mad Men parted company.

This is the latest deal for iTunes Canada, which in recent months has acquired shows including both Sex and the City and The Wire from HBO, and Dr. Who from the BBC.

From Playback Daily