Apple's iTunes store in America is taking a step closer to towards offering a monthly subscription service with the launch of a new package called Multi-Pass that lets users buy TV shows on a monthly basis.

Launching in connection with Comedy Central Network, fans will be able to buy the next month's series of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" on the service.

"Our newest feature 'Multi-Pass' gives fans the ability to purchase a block of 16 episodes … during the current season and have them delivered automatically to their computer after they air on TV", said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes.

Customers will pay for 16 new episodes via Multi-Pass for $9.99, or to pay $1.99 per episode as with other television shows such as Desperate Housewives and Lost.

Four episodes air each week and viewers can download each episode after it's been broadcast.

Michele Ganeless, executive vice president at Comedy Central, told Reuters “there would be no advertising on the service for the time being, similar to the network's DVD business”.