NBC Dumps iTunes (for now)

hammer_sickle_r_y.jpgAccording to the New York Times, NBC has notified Apple they will not renew their digital download contract – covering 1,500 hours of content responsible for 40% of iTunes television downloads. Apparently NBC wants more control over “pricing and packaging matters.” However, the existing deal is good through December. So I’d say this is merely a negotiating tactic… for now.

(via Lost Remote)

15 thoughts on “NBC Dumps iTunes (for now)”

  1. Commie! ;-) just kidding.

    I think it’s funny that companies think they can bully Apple into caving into some different pricing structure. I don’t see Apple budging one bit. Their pricing structure is the reason all those NBC shows were bought on ITunes. If NBC had a different (more expensive) structure, they would be far less successful. Are they going to bully Amazon Unbox that uses the same prices?

  2. It’s not just the price, its the fact that it mostly a universal price so the system is easy to understand and sort of fair (in a twisted way, since 30 minute shows cost the same as 60 minute shows).

    Back to that image, I was thinking of names and logos that are pretty much gone forever due to their status in society. In high school (80s), Soviet Olympic wrestlers came to town for an exhibition match. I was told to bring extra jeans and maybe I’d get lucky and be able to trade one for his sweats or singlet with sickle & hammer logo. (Didn’t happen.)

    There are some sculptures in town outside a gov building (forget which one) that look like they came straight out of early Cold War Moscow. My buddy who worked Navy Intel for 20 years finds the location exceedingly ironic.

  3. It is not a negotiating tactic, NBC is g-o-n-e from iTunes. NBC and Fox are building that lame “hulu.com” thing and that’s where you have to go and download The Office:

    “…Was the decision influenced by NBC’s ownership stake in the iTunes-competitive upcoming Hulu service? Almost certainly. The last thing the TV networks want to see is Apple having the kind of control over TV content that they do with music – 76% of online music sales come from iTunes.” – Michael Arrington

    …and yeah, downloading from “hulu” is gonna cost way more, and will almost certainly make you download “packages” of shows, not just one. Sucks. Reference:


  4. OK – but let’s make it $4.99 ( the price of a single episode of The Office on hulu.com ).

    I say that all NBC shows will vanish from iTunes at midnight tonight. Screen capture any mention of the NBC network on iTunes after 12:01 AM September 1, 2007 and you win the bet.

  5. I’d be interested in some analysis of what percentage of NBC’s profit on its shows comes from iTunes vs. TV/DVD. I assume its miniscule so far, even with them accounting for 40% of iTunes downloads. But that’s just a guess. I assume somebody could run the numbers.

    I don’t see how replacing iTunes downloads (which can be played on your iPod or Apple TV) with downloads to a PC-only player makes any sense. There are VERY few people using media center PCs hooked directly to their TVs, so unless they do a deal with some other hardware vendor, they’re just shooting themselves in the foot.

  6. Actually, I just trolled around and it looks like Microsoft has sold some 20 million MCE machines, and some 27% of those are hooked up in living rooms, so this is nearly 5% of the 111 million US households, making lots of assumptions. Not a huge number, but not bad really. Tivo only has 3 million current customers. Of course comparing them assumes all of these machine are still running and still in use for watching video on TVs. And that those 2004 stats hold up now that MCE has exploded in popularity…

  7. Glenn, Can that stat be right?! 5% is LARGE.

    Todd, I just checked iTunes and NBC content is still there. However, I’ll only hold you to my original bet that NBC content will be there as of Jan 1.

  8. OK – I don’t have iTunes, so I will take your word for it. You win the bet.

    I would like to go “double or nothing” that as soon as the first new episode of The Office airs later this month, THEN you will find all NBC properties vanish from iTunes.

  9. I’m content waiting until January 1 to see if the contract gets renegotiated and extended. Though I’m interested to see what happens this fall – you’re right and some of the newer wording does indicate NBC won’t be participating. Though NBC may not do anything until Hulu is ready for launch. We shall see!

  10. So NBC is going to have it’s shows on Amazon’s UnBox.

    wait for it…

    for $1.99. That’ll show Apple.

    Umm, UnBox is fine for downloading movies to my TiVo, but why would I pay for a show when I can, well, just TiVo it.

  11. Dave,

    Yeah, seems high to me too. The 27% of MCE machines are used in the living room number can from a 2004 Microsoft number when the number of MCE machines was MUCH lower. Its possible that the explosion of MCE machines has resulted in a lot of them not even being hooked up, or in dropping this number quite a lot. Don’t know. Couldn’t find anything more current.

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