Exec: NBC wants back on iTunes, anti-piracy measures | iLounge News


Exec: NBC wants back on iTunes, anti-piracy measures

NBC chief digital officer George Kliavkoff has raised the prospect of an NBC return to the iTunes Store, claiming that the network would “love” to be back, though price and piracy concerns remain sticking points. Speaking in an on-stage interview at the Ad:Tech conference, Kliavkoff said, “If you look at studies about MP3 players, especially leading MP3 players and what portion of that content is pirated, and think about how that content gets on to that device, it has to go through a gatekeeping piece of software, which would be a convenient place to put some antipiracy measures,” obliquely referencing iTunes. He added, “One of the big issues for NBC is piracy. We are financially harmed every day by piracy. It results in us not being able to invest as much money in the next generation of film and TV products.” It remains unclear how Apple’s FairPlay DRM, which protects all iTunes Store-purchased content from piracy, falls short of the company’s needs.

Kliavkoff added that “[w]e’d love to be on iTunes. It has a great customer experience. We’d love to figure out a way to distribute our content on iTunes,” noting that discussions between the companies continue: “we have film distribution with iTunes so yes, we do talk to Apple.” However, Kliavkoff suggested that Apple has too much control over pricing for the iTunes Store, explaining how NBC Universal sets a wholesale price for content it offers to distributors. “They can mark up the price and make a profit or use it as a loss leader to get people in the door. It’s really difficult for us to work with any distribution partner who says ‘Here’s the wholesale price and the retail price,’ especially when the price doesn’t reflect the full value of the product.” Both NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker and Apple CEO Steve Jobs have previously made comments suggesting the two companies would eventually come to an agreement regarding NBC TV shows, which were pulled from the iTunes Store last December following a contract dispute.

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“we’re concerned about piracy” is just corporate-speak for “we have no idea how to move to a new business model”.  The iTunes AAC tracks and the video files already have DRM measures in place.  What more does he want?  Lock them down so much and nobody will bother.

Posted by m. sherman on April 16, 2008 at 3:25 PM (CDT)


My interpretation is that they want iTunes to screen for other, non-iTMS pirated content and not let it load on an iPod. If that’s the case they can take their ball and go home.

Posted by mattwardfh on April 16, 2008 at 3:27 PM (CDT)


These guys at NBC are simply laughable. They aren’t wielding ANY power here. The other networks are on iTunes and they’re making money. NBC is not and they’re going to chant piracy all the way to major financial loss as a result? Apple is a big player now…The guys at NBC don’t get it…

Posted by RNB on April 16, 2008 at 4:01 PM (CDT)


The second that iTunes interferes any further with what I can and can’t put on my iPod is when I throw it out the window of a moving vehicle.

I don’t think Apple would risk pissing their consumer base just to be able to sell NBC’s content.  Not worth it.

Posted by Matthew on April 16, 2008 at 4:05 PM (CDT)


Jeff Zucker is a perfect candidate for unemployment. He ran his mouth very loudly and very publicly, and once it became apparent that he was coming off as a fool, the backtracking commenced.

NBC needs iTunes because much of its programming, save for The Office and 30 Rock, is garbage. The glory days of Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends and Frasier are long, long gone.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 16, 2008 at 4:06 PM (CDT)


I think NBC was under the impression that if they took their toys and went home, everyone would beg and plead to have them back.  The reality is that there is so much content available from so many sources, that it has really leveled the playing field for everyone who is producing content.  NBC may have taken their toys, but no one wants to play with a selfish brat anyway.  We can find better friends elsewhere on the block.

Posted by TexCub on April 16, 2008 at 5:25 PM (CDT)


NBC wants to come back after they pulled out. It is normal for anybody to admit that they did something wrong, lik ein this case with NBC. They now that they will lose out on the opportunity to sell their shows on a music distribution platform like iTunes. Since Apple actl. is the main brand for mobile music/video/ and more, NBC knows that from the start but somehow someone wanted to pull out.

now instead to admit that they did a wrong step they explain themself in a “yes we want back , BUT…” however the sentece would continue .. it is just a excuse to get the attention away from the actl object which is YES WE WANT BACK (we’ve mad a wrong decision to pull out) ...

they think they smart… but hey this is business world .. ;)

Posted by dennis on April 16, 2008 at 7:48 PM (CDT)


As usual, the “full value” of NBC’s TV shows is zero, as you can watch them for free both on broadcast TV and the internet.

Posted by Multimoog on April 16, 2008 at 8:04 PM (CDT)


The comments about the gatekeeping aspect of iTunes and analogous programs is disturbing. We’ve already seen what happens when the software tries to act as gatekeeper (c.f. previous versions of Sonic Stage) - consumers stay away in droves.

Posted by Code Monkey on April 16, 2008 at 8:58 PM (CDT)


Kliavkoff is definitely asking for iTunes to be a gate keeper for ALL videos a user has in his iTunes library. This would most likely shut the door on all the TV shows I record over the air with EyeTV and then import into iTunes legally.

Even if thats the case it still doesn’t make sense that NBC would pull content all together - why not make money by selling DRM NBC shows on iTunes while you continue to negotiate with Apple for this crazy gate keeping idea.

Sounds like a lot of back peddling now that they found out their HULU.com and NBCTV or whatever it was turned out to be less than spectacular.

Posted by Carlos on April 16, 2008 at 10:25 PM (CDT)


if u look at it from that point that NBC was making money already, and than they wnet with their shows to iTunes, and then some one got greedy and wanted to get more out of it their shows for sell under iTunes. now they want iTunes to get changed the way they want it?.... lol,....

It’s funny, and this made my day ;)

Posted by dennis on April 16, 2008 at 11:13 PM (CDT)


Screw you, NBC.

The last couple of seasons I bought Battlestar Galactica on iTunes.  At $1.99 an episode, it was still more expensive than it should have been.  Which still isn’t enough for NBC/Universal.

Get lost.  I’ll get the show through other means, and you won’t see a dime.

Greedy scum.

Posted by CDub on April 16, 2008 at 11:17 PM (CDT)


Hey Zucker - HULU you think you’re fooling?

Take your craptastic product elsewhere. No one cares.

Posted by jk on April 17, 2008 at 12:28 AM (CDT)


‘We are financially harmed everyday by piracy’  .... umm I’m confused.  This is one of the companies that broadcasts it products for FREE everyday for anybody to watch, record for later or whatever.. and they maintain that they suffer from piracy?  Is there something that I’m missing here?

Posted by lostkiwi on April 17, 2008 at 1:31 AM (CDT)


I would love to know if anyone at NBC looks at these comments that have been written here and elsewhere. The real value of a TV show is more like $.20 per view, that’s closer to what they get on air. If the price of TV shows on iTunes was quite a bit lower I think the sales would skyrocket. Maybe some smart network should try a $.50 per episode TV show on iTunes as an experiment. At that price would you buy more TV than you do now? I don’t have cable TV because I don’t think it’s worth the cost - because I spend less and less time watching TV. The internet is much more entertaining…

Posted by kspahr on April 17, 2008 at 7:11 AM (CDT)


Hello,.. ... “I’m NBC chief digital officer George Kliavkoff and I aprove your comments” ..... lol j/k

lol,.. as if they would lose money..lol, they gain since they hav had shows on iTunes, it might be not enough for their executive to by a ferrari or he/she had to pay money back to the IRS and they need to get it back in one or another way,..lol ...

or they just have to buy her ladies new shoes ..lol

Posted by dennis on April 17, 2008 at 12:12 PM (CDT)


What the heck more do they want? An iPod that bursts into flames if pirated content is on it? Oops, sorry… That’s already been done…  ;-)

Posted by chashulme on April 17, 2008 at 1:41 PM (CDT)


===This is one of the companies that broadcasts it products for FREE everyday for anybody to watch, record for later or whatever.. and they maintain that they suffer from piracy?===
Posted by lostkiwi on April 16, 2008 at 10:31 PM (PDT)

A network makes money every time they run a commercial. Since iTunes content and home recorded shows that are played over and over do not make “commercial money” for the network, that’s why NBC is pi$$ed. NBC is losing that commercial money, so they call it “piracy”. Its pretty money-grubbing, but that’s what it is about when talking about free TV - not piracy, but commerical fees.

Posted by Dale Reeck on April 17, 2008 at 4:33 PM (CDT)


screw NBC, ...
at the end it’s US, you and me who have to suffer. The customers. they don’t care about the people. all they want is to raise it $1-2 or even more to get them richer.

i would not pay $5bucks for a once a week show. that’s $20 a month.. heck no.

I hope that one of those NBC folks get this. but like NBC stand   “N"othing “B”  “C"onfusion folks get some brainstem inplanted ...

Posted by dennis on April 17, 2008 at 10:06 PM (CDT)


Do you people actually watch TV anymore ? I dont. Who on earth would pay for a TV show ? NBC is like all of hollywood, produce crap, sell crap and destroy real values of real people.

Guns and death, great vibes.
Messed up morals great.
Perfect looking people, not reality.

Go home NBC, you BORE us with your crap content.

Posted by mango on April 19, 2008 at 11:44 AM (CDT)

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