NBC Universal Now Says It Should Be Apple's Responsibility To Stop Piracy

from the oh-please dept

Sometimes you wonder how the folks at NBC Universal get anything accomplished, when they seem totally unable to accept responsibility for the market challenges they face, and demand that everyone else fix NBC Universal's business model problems. Remember, NBC Universal has been the main supporter of the idea that ISPs should be responsible for stopping any unauthorized transfer of content. But why take chances on having just one outside party prop up your business model?

Now, NBC Universal's "chief digital officer," George Kliavkoff, is saying that it should be Apple's responsibility to stop unauthorized usage by building special antipiracy filters into iTunes. Yes, iTunes -- the service that plenty of people use in order to legally purchase content. However, since iTunes is also the connection that most people use to manage their iPod content, NBC Universal thinks Apple should somehow block the ability to get non-authorized material onto the iPod. How would they do that? How would they know that a song is authorized vs. legally ripped? Don't bother asking tough questions like that. After all, if NBC Universal actually knew how to answer them, it wouldn't be telling everyone else that they're required to fix NBC Universal's broken business model. And, of course, it apparently hasn't occurred to NBC Universal execs that if Apple actually agreed to this (which seems extremely unlikely), it would just push people to jump to other solutions to manage their music, such as Songbird.

Kliavkoff then goes on to say: "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." Note the careful choice of words here. Remember, we were just discussing how the entertainment industry is trying to appropriate all value that is associated with content (even if that value is because of some other vehicle) back to the content owner. Kliavkoff's statement also shows a confusion over the difference between price and value -- and because of that he seems to be assigning all the value to the content and almost none to the service and technology Apple provides (sound familiar?). Coming from a "chief digital officer" that seems troublesome for the company's digital strategies. Then again, perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise. Companies that have a "chief digital officer" are already in trouble because they're sectioning off "digital" as if it's some separate function, rather than a key component that will impact all aspects of the business.

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  1. identicon
    Ed, 18 Apr 2008 @ 7:16am

    Letting Record company set the wholesale price.

    I think many of you are missing the point here. The record company does not want to lower the price of older music, they want to raise the price of newer music. At $1 a song, getting all songs from a CD (if all were worth buying) would cost the same as a CD. This is already high priced (to me at least). I would love to get old songs for $0.25, I would buy music at that price on a whim...."Gee, I recognize that song I just heard a bit of from the car next to me. Let be buy to here the whole thing." Why not. Even if I never play it again. Just don't believe the record (and movie) companies would ever let it happen. So till it does, I just go without..... If everybody adopted that attitude, the record companies would not only go under, they would be trying to get ridiculous laws protecting their businesses.

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