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NBC counters: no iTunes pricing flexibility

updated 04:55 pm EDT, Sat September 1, 2007

NBC: iTunes pricing fixed

Continuing the public jousting, NBC Universal (NBCU) claims it never asked to double the wholesale price--as Apple claimed--and insists its network shows will be sold by the iTunes Store through early December. NBCU also said that Apple needs do more about piracy and that Apple's iTunes pricing strategy is hurting content providers. The statements made by NBCU execs directly counter a press release made by Apple on Friday morning and appear to be yet another move by the network to put public pressure on Apple to bring the popular shows to the industry-leading iTunes Store. NBC supplied iTunes with three of its 10 best selling TV shows last season, accounting for 30 percent of iTunes TV show sales.

According to NBCU's executive vice president of communications Cory Shields, the iTunes contract dispute centered on a "request for flexibility in wholesale pricing, including the ability to package shows together in ways that could make our content even more attractive for consumers."

The report also says the exec said NBCU wanted Apple to do more about piracy "since it is estimated that the typical iPod contains a significant amount of illegally downloaded material."

In addition, the Shields claimed that Apple's pricing strategy is solely designed to sell its hardware, rather than compensating content providers fairly. "It is clear that Apple's retail pricing strategy for its iTunes service is designed to drive sales of Apple devices, at the expense of those who create the content that make these devices worth buying," Shields said.

Apple on Friday said it would stop selling NBCU shows next month because its contract, which ends in December, would not be renewed by NBCU; however, the network directly countered the statement by not only noting other digital distribution outlets, but by insisting that its currently running shows would continue to be available on iTunes through December, but that those shows premiering this year would not be available.

"We want consumers to know that all our returning series, including new episodes, will be available on iTunes through the remainder of the contract, which expires in early December," Shields said. "Our content is also available on,, and the soon-to-launch"

by MacNN Staff



  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969


    and the liar is....


    NBC has far more to lose than Apple here. TORRENTS anyone?

  1. dagamer34

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I thought Apple made it loud and clear that the goal of the iTunes store is to sell iPods and probably also AppleTVs, not generate revenue from music and tv show sales. That's why they have a clean pricing structure to entice consumers to buy their hardware where the margins are enormous!

  1. luiss

    Joined: Dec 1969



    All this show for nothing. In the end NBC will be back. Idiots!!!

  1. Cleverboy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I'm getting angry everytime I hear that NBC quote that iPods hold mostly illegal content. I know for a fact that almost EVERY piece of content on my iPhone was obtained legally. In fact, I only say "almost" because I think I got a few mp3s from a friend years ago, no different than getting a mix tape. The vast percentage of its contents are legally purchased music and podcasts. I credit iTunes with making it easy for me to BUY content. You counter piracy with convenience, NOT with DRM. Their logic doesn't flow at ALL. They make it seem like iTunes is an outlet for illegal content. Is iTunes supposed to inspect everyone's content and determine provencance before letting you load it?

    Perhaps Apple should just stand on the train tracks of your stupid ideas and wait for reality to hit them? This is all just spin doctoring. They haven't a leg to stand on, and it shows. They're attitude makes me want to just ignore their network altogether, except I'd regret punishing the REAL content makers (as opposed to executives with stupid ideas).

  1. drdocument

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's about "fair use"

    >>NBCU wanted Apple to do more about piracy "since it is estimated that the typical iPod contains a significant amount of illegally downloaded material."

  1. russellb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pirate Content

    Hey I want blank DVD & CD manufactures to do more about piracy , most of the content on their product is pirated ...


  1. davesmall

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Low prices are a key

    NBC management comes off as being dumber than a bucket of cement.

    Paying high prices for TV Shows that can be recorded on Tivo for free is a non starter.

    NBC must have been wanting to get out of the deal. There is no way their price negotiations could have been sincere.

    Steve Jobs is my hero. I have no heroes in the TV Networks, Music Companies, or Cell Phone Companies like AT&T.

    If you want to go into shock take an iPhone to Europe for two weeks and check your AT&T phone bill on your return.

    Apple and Google are attempting to clean up the mess.

    Hang in there Steve. Tell them to kiss off (again).

  1. Frogmella

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is all about GREED

    How can Apple do more to combat piracy? Make it so their devices can only play content protected by DRM? I can hardly see the public lining up to buy them then.

    Fact is, there is always a way around DRM - even if it means grabbing content as the final output signal - and there will always be companies happy to sell products that play such content.

    Cleverboy's right: the only way to fight piracy is with convenience. Apple has allowed the content providers to do that, and NBC's shareholders should be deeply concerned at the backward step their execs have taken.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: blank DVD & CD

    euh, big content providers get a nice cut on the sale of blank DVD & CD's because of pirating, MS is also paying some company's a fee per Zune soled.

    Apple isn't.

  1. Cadaver

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Illegal content? F-U!

    Thanks for calling me a criminal. I can say with 100% certainty that I have exactly zero illegal content on my iPods and my iPhone. ALL the music has come either from CDs I own or from the iTunes store (about $800-$1,000 worth). Guess NBC-Universal wants none of that... and so none is what they'll get!

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