updated 02:55 pm EDT, Fri August 31, 2007
Disney and iTunes
In the wake of NBC's announcement that it plans to pull its content from the iTunes Store and Apple's subsequent announcement that it would cancel the broadcaster's contract, other providers of for-purchase content available through iTunes have lined up to express their continued support and media availability. Disney Channel executives, for instance, say that not only will they continue selling their offerings through the iTunes store, but that ratings have never been higher than when shows were concurrently available through the service. The NBC spat stems from the fact that the broadcaster is upset over Apple's lock on sales schemes, particularly its resistance to altering prices, or bundling videos together to increase profit.
In an interview The Stage, Gary Marsh, president of entertainment for Disney Channel Worldwide, said that in the US its children’s programs, including Hannah Montana and the Suite Life of Zach and Cody, regularly featured in the iTunes top 15 of programs sold on an episode by episode basis. "Concurrent with that, we've never had higher ratings. For the last five months prior to August, we've had our highest months ever. Clearly the availability of these programs [on iTunes] if anything is helping the linear channel," he said."
Apple's agreement with NBC ends in December. Since NBC would withdraw their shows in the middle of the television season, Apple has decided to not offer NBC TV shows for the upcoming television season beginning in September. "We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "We hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers."