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NBC to pull TV shows from iTunes

updated 09:35 am EDT, Fri August 31, 2007

NBC shows to leave iTunes

NBC Universal will no longer offer episodes of its TV shows through the iTunes Store, according to fresh reports. NBC is said to have informed Apple of its decision late yesterday, a fact confirmed by an NBC spokesman. A source for the New York Times suggests that NBC is upset over Apple's lock on sales schemes, particularly its resistance to altering prices, or bundling videos together to increase profit. NBC would also like to impose more stringent DRM measures.

Videos will not be pulled from iTunes for several months, as the current two-year contract between Apple and NBC runs through December. If and when they disappear however, it may have a dramatic impact on iTunes, as NBC is the top supplier to the store, supplying approximately 40 percent of all video, or 1,500 hours. Some of the most popular series belong to the network: these include "Battlestar Galactica" and "The Office."

The Times' source suggests that the content may yet remain, but this depends on a new contract being agreed to in the short time before the prior one expires. Both companies are still said to be involved in talks, the NBC announcement being a necessary 90-day warning to prevent its deal from renewing. Similar warning deadlines may be coming up for the likes of CBS, Discovery and the News Corporation.

Many companies are said to be upset with Apple, accusing the company of underpricing iTunes content in order to sell iPods and accessories. Most recently, the Universal Music Group decided to switch from a contract to an "at will" relationship with Apple, and has deliberately excluded Apple from its tests of DRM-free music.

by MacNN Staff




  1. e:leaf

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So they are so

    upset at not making enough money that they are going to pull their content and make none. Sounds like a smart business decision to me.

    If they think that people will follow their shows to another store, one that may not support iPods or Apple TV, "just because," I fear that the networks are sadly mistaken.

    And more DRM? When are these guys going to learn that DRM isn't a feature?

  1. Will53

    Joined: Dec 1969


    A perfect measure...

    ... to increase piracy! Congratulations to NBC!

  1. benj

    Joined: Dec 1969



    To the rescue. Nuff said.

  1. lockhartt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    it's sad

    ...that the networks don't realize that Jobs has hit the nail on the head in terms of his pricing model. Aside from ease of use, the existing pricing model is the key reason that iTunes is as successful as it is. Obviously, the content producers would prefer to have the consumers at their mercy in when pricing content, Apple's consumer-centric approach is not what they want.

    Hopefully Apple will be able to continue hold their own in this battle, as Apple's loss is our loss.

  1. panjandrum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No more Battlestar 4 me?

    Rats, that probably means no more Battlestar for me until the DVDs are available for rental via NetFlix. Not that big a deal and the series has been going downhill, but I'm one of those people who watches extremely little TV, and I'm more than happy to purchase the few shows I do watch on the iTunes music store just so I don't have to worry about recording them myself. (Plus, if you calculate the savings I made on my cable plan by cutting back to the basics, I actually save money annually by buying the few shows I do want 6 months out of the year instead of paying for 100 channels I don't want all year long).

    As e:leaf mentioned, I doubt many people will "follow" the show to another download site. They will almost certainly lose viewers.

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Zune Marketplace!

    Hey I am sure NBC can go make a ton more moving to Zune Marketplace.

    Instead of Apple they should go negotiate with Wal-Mart who will really squeeze them.

    While I am all for content providers, artists and studios making money, I really think that they are being short-sighted. The fact is that they make more at $1.99 an episode (or less) than they make airing the show.

    I recently bought all the new Battlestar Galactica episodes on iTunes because I was interested in seeing them, but was not willing to spend $50 a season to get the DVD. iTunes had them on sale. I would not have otherwise purchased the show.

    NBC would be foolish not to continue this relationship. The admitted that it boosted viewership of subsequent episodes when the show was on itunes.

  1. fishtech

    Joined: Dec 1969


    NBC > pwned by Universal

    Universal > pwned by Vivendi

    Vivendi > the powerful French media conglomerate behind moves to get iTunes Music Store bashed by the European Union?

    BTW, Vivendi suffered the worst ever corporate loss (to date) of a French compay in 2002. From Wiki: "[Vivendi] has become a study in the triumph of personal ambition and greed over common sense"

    And they think THIS is a good business decision?


  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not exactly

    NBC = Owned mostly by General Electric

    NBC Universal (tv production studio) = Owned by NBC and Universal (I believe)

  1. jeph4e

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Free it is then. Go Piratebay!

  1. mmcfee

    Joined: Dec 1969


    NBC take aim at own foot

    lockharrt and e:leaf are spot on.

    Apple has hit on the price that the CONSUMER is willing to pay. And THAT sells iPods _and_ TV shows and movies. Will more DRM stop piracy? No. But take this content off iTunes or jack up the price... THAT will spur piracy. People are willing to pay if it's worth their while.

    Bash Apple if you will, but in reality it's us, the consumers, you're railing against. We set the price these days. You can't just tell us what we'll pay any more because you're the only gme in town. In this era, we tell you. You can bring your game at that price or you can go home and we'll get our content elsewhere.

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