NBC & iTunes

So, if you have been paying attention to the entertainment industry, you would have heard by now that NBC announced it would not renew it’s contract at the end of the year with iTunes because of Apple’s inability to meet their demands (higher prices). Countering, iTunes announced since the partnership will be void soon enough, they will not provide episodes from this season’s lineup. This includes The Office and Heroes which I imagine are two of the most popular programs downloaded from the iTunes library.

I must say I was rather shocked given that NBC is known to be in dire straits. Their ratings are in the cellar for almost all their programs and it seemed like what revenue they received from Apple was easy money. I guess they thought they might as well squeeze a bit more out of the digital consumers which would have increased prices per episode from $1.99 to $4.99. Though I’m not exactly an Apple fan (especially in their need to make all their products so proprietary) but I appreciate the low prices of their downloads.

I haven’t actually downloaded a TV show myself from Apple, I really enjoyed the comfort that I could. I especially loved they even began offering Days of our Lives on iTunes which was yet another way to download a missed episode (legally!) and it seems NBC has found another way to screw the long running soap over as well as other shows.

Naturally I know nothing of what possessed NBC to really attempt such a stupid ass move (nobody can bully Apple into doing anything, not even Apple itself) but given the job I just recently left was known for sticking with the business school of thought that “if you aren’t attracting customers one way, try pissing off loyal distributors so nothing goes out.” Sigh, Dilbert continues to look less like a cartoon and more realistic every day.

So what does this mean? I think Apple will suffer simply because their most highly downloaded items were the NBC shows, however, iTunes was successful before they signed NBC up, and Apple already is having a very good year. NBC? Well, I’m wondering if NBC is deciding about going with another service…allowing NBC TV shows being exclusively offered on their service would be a coup for any iTunes competitor. However, without that, I imagine NBC will find they are really only pissing off their already dwindling audience who now will be heading for the illegal P2P networks as we speak!

ETA:  It seems NBC is countering to Apple’s counter by saying they never wanted more money.  What they wanted was…um, “flexibility to wholesale pricing” which would allow different download packages to become more attractive to downloading customers.  Then they went ahead and mentioned they wanted tighter privacy measures since iPods are chalk full of illegal downloaded material and Apple should step up it’s controls to prevent that.



One thought on “NBC & iTunes

  1. You know, people will happily pay for access to copyrighted materials. Itunes has a proven formula–simple pricing, availability. I don’t mind so much about primetime TV shows, since eventually there will be DVDs. But soaps–it’s not like NBC is selling any of its old shows. If they were available from other legitimate sources, they’d have a right to complain.


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