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 NBC.com, Amazon.com, and the soon-to-launch hulu.com."