NBC Universal Admits Defeat; Returns To iTunes

from the about-time dept

NBC Universal keeps realizing after the fact that making it more difficult to find your shows is never a winning strategy. So, almost exactly one year after refusing to re-sign Apple’s iTunes contract, claiming that it wanted to charge higher prices, it appears that NBC has realized that it needs Apple and iTunes more than Apple needs NBC. Among the various announcements coming from Steve Jobs at the Apple press event this morning, the most interesting may be NBC Universal’s capitulation and return to iTunes. For years, people have been explaining to NBC that the more places and ways it makes its content available, the better, but NBC has struggled with that concept, preferring to control every aspect of its shows. At least it’s starting to step back from that position.

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Companies: apple, nbc universal

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Comments on “NBC Universal Admits Defeat; Returns To iTunes”

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Michael Long (profile) says:

Re: lol

Not true. NBC wanted to make popular shows more expensive. What they got was $1.99 (same as everyone else), the ability to price old content at $0.99 (as others were doing), and the abilty to charge a buck more for HD (high-def) content (same as Apple already does for HD movie rentals).

So no Hereos or The Office for $4.99. No bundles of Hereos and Coupling. No advanced DRM. No limits on the number of iPods/iPhones.

In short, other than HD, NBC is right back where they started.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Ummm...

Is it me or do you even do research?

NBC demanded doubling of prices for shows to $4.99. They did not get that. And I quote:

“The deal announced Tuesday by Apple CEO Steve Jobs represents a victory for Apple and an about-face for NBC, which yanked its programs from iTunes in August 2007 after complaining about Apple’s inflexibility in determining the prices of the TV shows it sells….

“NBC’s programming will sell for the same prices as other TV shows sold through iTunes….”

LostSailor says:

Re: Re: Ummm...

NBC demanded doubling of prices for shows to $4.99. They did not get that. And I quote

From just the San Francisco Chronicle article which is heavily loaded with quotes from Apple. There is only one very short paraphrased remark from NBC that they did not demand “doubling of prices for shows to $4.99” (which is not really an accurate quote, in which apple claimed NBC demanded a doubling of the wholesale price of shows that would have resulted in Apple charging $4.99; a slight difference there).

Other articles, like the Cnet article paint a different picture.

NBC Shows, according to your cited article, were nearly 40% of iTune’s video traffic, and Apple wanted to control the wholesale price. That is, they didn’t want to pay NBC any more for very popular content they were selling. NBC apparently (and rightly, IMHO) said, “let’s talk about it” Apple said no, NBC said “well, say goodbye to a huge chunk of revenue.”

Now they’ve worked it out. NBC isn’t the bad guy, and wasn’t necessarily defeated. Taking reporting via corporate press release is also usually not the best idea.

Lo says:

Gotta side with those who say Apple caved. A key line from the Cnet article: “A source close to the negotiations said that under the old terms, Apple wouldn’t allow NBC to charge less for shows. This meant that selling catalog titles for 99 cents couldn’t have happened.”

Apple may be a pioneer, but it’s not necessarily always the good guy. Why is it that producers such as NBC are assumed to be the bad guy?

Mike’s criticized NBC because of their handling of web streaming of Olympic events. But to encourage such producers to test and adapt new distribution and business models, they don’t seem to get any credit for even incremental change.

DavidB (profile) says:

Okay, now if NBC would get off their butts with HD and catch up with the rest of the networks! Amazes me that studio shows like “Deal or No Deal” or “America’s Got Talent” that just SCREAM to be produced in HD are not, yet CBS can shoot/produce a show in the jungles of Africa in HD (i.e Survivor) and “American Idol” has been in HD for at least the past two seasons.

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