Breaking Bad, the hit TV show on AMC starring Bryan Cranston, officially returned last night for the highly anticipated second half of season 5. However, some iTunes users are realizing that the Season Pass they purchased for the first half of the season doesn’t grant them access to the second half.
The discrepancy comes from the fact that AMC has always promoted the fifth season as one season split into two parts. The first 8 episodes aired starting back in July 2012 and appeared on iTunes as “Season 5″. Some users that purchased a season pass then expected that it would include the last half of the season that kicked off last night. Unfortunately, when the second half of the season hit iTunes, it was promoted as “The Final Season” rather than the second half of season 5 and required users to purchase a new season pass for access.
Apple allows users to buy a “Season Pass” to seasons of TV shows on iTunes and often provides a slight discount versus purchasing individual episodes. To be fair, Apple only charged $21.99 US for the season pass for season 5, which would reflect the typical cost for 8 episodes of new, premium content. In addition, the fine print on iTunes receipts also stated that the season pass for season 5 would only include “episodes airing in 2012.” The real problem here is that it forgot to remove the boiler plate text stating that the season also included all future episodes: “This Season Pass includes all current and future episodes of Breaking Bad, Season 5.”
A reader notes that the season pass for Season 3 of the The Walking Dead included both halves of the season with a long break in between the first and last 8 episodes. An iTunes rep even confirmed that the reader WOULD receive the second half of the season 5 prior to “The Final Season” landing on iTunes, so clearly there is some confusion with how iTunes handles these situations. Some users have even purchased a season pass for “The Final Season” (the second half of “Season 5″ on iTunes) expecting that they’d also get access to the 8 previously aired episodes available in Season 5.
Apple isn’t alone in the move, as Amazon and Xbox offerings are splitting the seasons into two separate purchases as well, but Apple should definitely be doing more to make sure consumers know what they are getting when purchasing a season split into two parts.