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.