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NBC Universal wanted cut of Apple hardware sales

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Monday, October 29, 2007
News Categories: Digital Media

NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker has said that along with flexible pricing experimentation, the company was seeking a cut of Apple’s hardware sales during iTunes contract negotiations. Speaking at an event organized by Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, Zucker said “We wanted to take one show, it didn’t matter which one it was, and experiment and sell it for $2.99. We made that offer for months and they said no,” Zucker said. “Apple sold millions of dollars worth of hardware off the back of our content and made a lot of money,” he added. “They did not want to share in what they were making off the hardware or allow us to adjust pricing.” NBC Universal, in partnership with Fox, today launched a public beta of the Hulu.com video service. Responding to a separate question, Zucker said that “Apple has destroyed the music business. If we don’t take control on the video side, they’ll do the same” to video.

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Comments

21

He of course means Apple has destroyed the music industry for NBC and its affiliates.

Posted by Joshdude on October 30, 2007 at 10:52 AM (PDT)

22

Before iTunes, there wasn’t even a market for this crap.  Everyone was like, “pay $1.99 for something I can get for free? You gotta be crazy!”  But it worked, and now these clowns are walking away from 15 million in pure profit.  There was no cost to them infrastructure-wise or distribution-wise. Wow.  It boggles the mind.

Posted by The Raven on October 30, 2007 at 10:53 AM (PDT)

23

While I am not the hugest fan of the iTunes model, mostly cause I usually don’t care about owning TV the way I care about music and so I think it is way overpriced, I do think that NBC is batshit crazy to think they deserve a penny.

The networks were an anachronism of the 20th century and the technological monopolies they once had. Now that the internet provides for alternate distribution, their day is over…

Posted by akatsuki on October 30, 2007 at 11:01 AM (PDT)

24

i’d like to know what percentage of ipod owners have purchased NBC video content from itunes.

Posted by achenator on October 30, 2007 at 12:12 PM (PDT)

25

It’s simple…Sour Grapes, Sour Grapes… NBC craying like a bunch of babies- pathetic. I’d boycott their content on principle alone…
If it wasn’t for iTunes I would have never watched the Office… I’ll never buy their DVDs ...ever…

Posted by Hatman on October 30, 2007 at 12:38 PM (PDT)

26

Better yet, achenator, I’d like to know how many iPod owners became iPod owners because they wanted to take NBC Universal content on the go.

Zucker’s most absurd claim is that NBC U offerings helped push Apple product to the tune of millions of dollars. I just don’t see where he gets that idea. The iPod was a monster well before NBC started pimping its wares on iTunes, and its departure won’t have any effect on iPod sales whatsoever.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on October 30, 2007 at 1:19 PM (PDT)

27

And I used to wonder how Bonnie Hammer could keep her job after successfully destroying the Sci-Fi Channel.

Now I think I know.

Posted by Andrew on October 30, 2007 at 2:05 PM (PDT)

28

I can hear Steve laughing at this very moment. A cut of hardware sales? Sounds unlikely for anyone, especially since we’re talking about the iPod. Can’t blame them for trying, though.

Posted by ddsd on October 30, 2007 at 3:16 PM (PDT)

29

I’m not a big fan of the totally incorrect concept that British media is somehow better than American media. For example people who believe in the totally false idea that Harry Potter books get dumbed-down for American readers—which is total B.S. nonsense that is pushed by those people who want others to think that because they like things from other countries it somehow makes them worldly or intellectual ... it doesn’t, but keep dreaming. But having said that, The UK version of The Office—which I have never watched an episode of—I can easily tell is better than the American version. Steve Carrell. I mean, COME ON! He’s not bad but he’s no Ricky Gervais. The US version of The Office is just a vulgar, lame copycat show that is hoping that everyone will see something more in it than what is actually there. It is just a lame face-value show, whereas the UK version had more to it than that. If it wasn’t for iTunes, the US version of The Office would have bombed and been cancelled and taken off the air. That’s right! One of NBC’s prized shows wouldn’t exist anymore if it wasn’t for Apple and Apple’s iTunes. NBC=Ungrateful bastards.

Posted by Ron G. on October 30, 2007 at 5:12 PM (PDT)

30

Actually, it’s the artists and content creators that need to take control.  i.e. Remove the unnecessary middleman and publish either to iTunes or their own sites.  It’s the artists who will be the real winners going forward.

Posted by Frank Z on October 30, 2007 at 10:06 PM (PDT)

31

Well, I see the whole thing as stupid.  NBC made demands to raise the price and Apple said “no.”  That’s valid enough to say that you want to pull your content.

But then, to say that you wanted a cut of hardware sales….. you just lost any credibility.

Steven Colbert said on his show that NBC’s version of offering the shows is worse than putting it on iTunes.  The shows are free, but you get commercials and can’t play it on the #1 portable video device.  That might be better for you, but how is that better for us?  You can always make the video files DRM free and make an MP4 that we can download, but they don’t even do that.

Start up the bit torrents.

Lauren

Posted by daelin on November 3, 2007 at 7:58 PM (PDT)

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