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NBC decides against renewal of iTunes contract [updated]

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Friday, August 31, 2007
News Categories: iTunes

NBC Universal has decided not to renew its contract with Apple to sell its television shows on the iTunes Store, reports The New York Times. The media giant is said to be unhappy over Apple’s refusal to give them more control over pricing, DRM restrictions, and the bundling of videos. Although NBC Universal notified Apple of their decision yesterday, its current contract extends through December, and talks will continue between the two companies. NBC Universal is the biggest supplier of video to the iTunes Store, accounting for around 40 percent of downloads.

Update: Apple has responded to the move by announcing that it won’t be offering any of NBC’s upcoming fall episodes.

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Comments

1

All this means is that I won’t be buying anything from NBC because they won’t be selling where I am buying.

Posted by jasonengel on August 31, 2007 at 5:45 AM (PDT)

2

I’m with Jason. I was all set to buy season passes to Heroes and Scrubs. I won’t be watching them on NBC.

Posted by Mozez on August 31, 2007 at 6:07 AM (PDT)

3

This is insane and inane—don’t they realize that the popularity of shows like The Office and Battlestar Galactica can be traced to their ubiquity in the iTunes Store? Bad idea, kids…

Posted by forepac on August 31, 2007 at 6:07 AM (PDT)

4

The only thing that makes sense for this insanely STUPID idea is that NBC thinks that iTunes video sales may be affecting sales of DVDs. As an exmaple, I have have buying episodes of Eureka off iTunes instead of buying the DVD set I saw at Target.

But considering the fact that at $2 per episode I am spending the same amount as I would with the DVD set, they aren’t losing money. They aren’t spending money on manufacturing a physical disk and distributing it to thousands of store shelves, so I would think they actually making more money off direct video file sales.

If NBC thinks I’m going to sign up for an account on thier Beta-site, deal with some ungainly DRM, and struggle to get it on my iPod, they are sadly mistaken. Many people like me will just find a way to get it by “other” means.

NBC and other content conglamos need to make things EASIER for consumers, not harder.

Posted by Scotto on August 31, 2007 at 6:35 AM (PDT)

5

I wonder if this is some kind of power play from NBC Universal to use its television content to get some leverage on changing the fixed price on music to some type of variable pricing scheme. Apple and Universal are already at odds over music.

I think this might be just another chess move by the record studios/movie studios to try to weaken or break Apple’s stranglehold on the market with iTunes.

Posted by cxc273 on August 31, 2007 at 6:40 AM (PDT)

6

Universal really has no clue.  They exclusively support HD DVD, which only has half the market that Blu-ray does, and now they want to abandon iTunes, which has about 75% of the downloads market. Obviously Universal needs some serious help figuring things out…

Posted by Rob on August 31, 2007 at 6:44 AM (PDT)

7

posturing.

Posted by OnlyShawn on August 31, 2007 at 6:56 AM (PDT)

8

Good riddance NBC…and Universal.  I really hope Apple stands its ground on pricing and such.  Give these clowns an inch and they take a mile with absolutely no thought about what it means for the consumer.

Posted by The Raven on August 31, 2007 at 7:42 AM (PDT)

9

Not good.  If someone as big as NBC pulls its TV shows off iPod, others will do the same in an attempt to force Apple to change its pricing structure.

Posted by crazypig on August 31, 2007 at 8:29 AM (PDT)

10

Do they really think that episodes are worth more than $1.99?

Posted by jv on August 31, 2007 at 8:58 AM (PDT)

11

I don’t even pay the $1.99/episode price let alone $4.99/episode (or use the season pass for that matter).  What the h*&# is NBC thinking…that people will actually pay that price?  Triple that amount and that’s what I pay for cable each month, so why would I shell out $4.99/episode.  For now I will just TiVo-to-Go the shows for iPod use, which is what I have been doing anyway.  Good move on Apple’s part…tell ‘em to stick it where…well, you know.

Posted by franticnomad on August 31, 2007 at 9:28 AM (PDT)

12

Go to NBC.COM, contact page and post your feelings.  I’ve done so and so have about 25 of my friends.

This is insane and stupid on their part.  They seem to forget that TiVo and most cable companies offer a DVR where people can record the shows they want for free.  The iTunes store provides additional income by offering the same shows in a nice downloadable package.

Posted by Mark Holbrook on December 14, 2007 at 10:57 PM (PDT)

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