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Apple drops NBC television shows from iTunes

post #1 of 48
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Apple, having yet to renew its content distribution agreement with NBC Universal, began pulling all television programming produced by the network from its iTunes digital download service this past weekend.

The removal includes hit television shows such as Heroes and the Office, as well as programming from the conglomerate's sister networks, Bravo, NBC Sports, CNBC, USA Networks and the Sci Fi channel.

Shoppers on the iTunes Store may still purchase and download a handful of NBC-aired shows, such as Chuck and Journeyman, which are broadcast by the network but produced elsewhere, and therefore not under NBC's distributive control.

Previously Apple's largest television distribution partner, NBC supplied the iTunes Store with over 1,500 hours of programming that accounted for more than 30 percent of the service's television show revenues, including three of the 10 best selling shows during the summer season.

The two firms, however, entered into a bitter feud over future pricing structures this past July when NBC sought to institute flexibility in wholesale pricing and bundle shows together in more attractive ways. Apple declined the offer.

"It is clear that Apples 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," NBC's executive vice president of communications, Cory Shields, said at the time.

For its part, Apple in a public statement alleged that NBC was seeking to double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode, which would have resulted in the retail price to consumers increasing to $4.99 per episode from the current $1.99.

NBC immediately refuted the claim, maintaining that it was only trying to open the door to more flexible pricing methods, and was seeking to experiment with higher pricing for one hit show such as Heroes by raising the price from the iTunes standard $1.99 to $2.99 on a trial basis.

"We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase," Apples vice president of iTunes Eddy Cue said in September. "We hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers."

Since then, NBC has become even more confrontational with the iPod maker, with chief executive Jeff Zucker in late October using a breakfast hosted by Syracuses Newhouse School of Communications to urge colleagues to take a stand against iTunes, charging that the service was undermining the ability of traditional media companies to set profitable rates for their content online.

"We know that Apple has destroyed the music business -- in terms of pricing -- and if we dont take control, theyll do the same thing on the video side," he said.

For the time being, NBC appears poised to go it alone by offering its television programming via its ad-supported Web-based NBC Direct service. It also plans to offer the shows via Hulu, a joint venture with NewsCorp. still in the beta testing stage.
post #2 of 48
iheard about this a few times, sad to se it happen. Oh wait i don't watch tv on my ipod, nevermind, not a big deal. And now with sites like hulu.com you can watch a bigger version with many of these shows anyhow, and for free.
post #3 of 48
I'm not sure who the villain is here but, I think that it's shameful that NBC and Apple couldn't play nice. Hopefully, this won't happen with any other networks.
post #4 of 48
Apple should be able to set the retail price and NBC should be able to set the wholesale price.

If NBC want to do bundling or whatever, they can do that on the wholesale side but shouldn't start dictating to Apple to do it on the retail side.
post #5 of 48
Quote:
charging that the service was undermining the ability of traditional media companies to set profitable rates for their content online.



It's like this guy hasn't heard of Bittorrent or overnet or gnutella or DCC. At LEAST they were making money, now they are ONLY competing with free services. What a dumb-ass.
post #6 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunkDifferent.com View Post

iheard about this a few times, sad to se it happen. Oh wait i don't watch tv on my ipod, nevermind, not a big deal. And now with sites like hulu.com you can watch a bigger version with many of these shows anyhow, and for free.

I think you need check your facts. Not only are hulu shows the same size or smaller than an iPod, they cannot be downloaded, they are not commercial free, and the resolution is much worse. In addition, you can only view them when you have an internet connection so they are pretty much useless on an airplane, car, etc.

Also, iTunes shows are not restricted to iPods. You can watch them on your TV or laptop.
post #7 of 48
Not sure there is much of a loss here. I haven't seen the flood of network to iTunes I'd like to see... thus far.. video on iTunes still seems a long way from going mainstream. Even my Dish receiver now offers online content via my internet connection. This market (especially if you count all the illegal outlets) is blowing up.. Somebody needs to make this industry work for everyone. To me, Apple continues to be the logical choice...
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post #8 of 48
Looks like Universal won't be getting any more "Battlestar Galactica" money from me. Your loss, pal.
post #9 of 48
If I'm not mistaken, NBC is running a very distant LAST in the network ratings race, rivaling the WB, even! iTunes saved "The Office" from an early death (not so sure THAT was a good idea), so let's see what the company can pull out of its a** next season . . . WITHOUT WRITERS OR ITUNES!

(Pardon the glee at watching these morons self destruct.)
post #10 of 48
Is anybody outside of the USA able to download television shows or full-length movies from iTunes yet?

In Canada, you can still only get movie trailers and music videos. What's the situation elsewhere?
post #11 of 48
I think it's pretty hypocritical NBC whines about Apple's pricing policies, yet they pay their writers shi*.

"It is clear that Apples retail pricing strategy for its iTunes service is designed to drive sales of Apple devices at the expense of those who create the content"
post #12 of 48
Um, shouldn't the headline read "NBC drops television shows from Apple's iTunes"

The RDF is waining....
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post #13 of 48
The office is a brilliant comedy with some fantastic acting and Im glad that iTunes saved it. They paid them back with an episode largely centered around the office mates fighting over an iPod.

Im sure that future episodes will be widely available on bittorrent - and guess what - those files can be made to work on an iPod or an Apple TV or computer or anything else. NBC just doesn't get it. Why make pay harder than free?
post #14 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunkDifferent.com View Post

And now with sites like hulu.com you can watch a bigger version with many of these shows anyhow, and for free.

I watch tons of tv on my television screen via my ipod. With iTunes, I could watch the NBC store. Since hulu doesn't have a way to get it to my TV screen, it doesn't really interest me.

I watch TV on my TV screen, not sitting in front of the computer. With iTunes gone, is the only way for me to do that bootlegging the NBC shows?

I'd agree that NBC is shooting themselves in the foot, on the one hand they're hyping their new streaming website while on the other telling the writers there's no way to make money online. It's a PR disaster.
post #15 of 48
Zucker is a friggin' idiot if he believes iTunes ruined the music business. Please.

NBC needs to charge more than $1.99 per show? For what? I purchase from them shows that in the past I would have just watched on TV. For me there is $1.99 per show of extra/new revenue. Not sure what the split is of that $1.99 but would be curious to find out.
post #16 of 48
This will actually make it easier for people to pirate their shows.
With apps like Cosmopod and Miro lifting videos from the web is a snap.
At least from itunes they were actually getting some cash for it.

THANKS NBC
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by akabaka View Post

Looks like Universal won't be getting any more "Battlestar Galactica" money from me. Your loss, pal.

##&*!@@*!
I didn't realize that Galactica would be affected--I was only thinking about the NBC part of NBC Universal.
I could convince myself to go for the season pass at some point every season--usually on a whim--but I will not be buying the DVDs. Maybe I will try harder to catch in when it airs but damn! this is the only TV show I used iTunes for.
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post #18 of 48
it took apple to show the bonehead marketing guys in the music and tv industry how to make money with their wares on the internet. now they are ready to shoot themselves in the foot again. i wish google would by universal, fire all their executives and make a portion of their content free and charge a reasonable amount for the rest....like 99 cent movie rentals like redbox is doing RIGHT NOW with their robot kiosks...
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

It's like this guy hasn't heard of Bittorrent or overnet or gnutella or DCC. At LEAST they were making money, now they are ONLY competing with free services. What a dumb-ass.

I completely agree that this decision is totally stupid on NBC's part. It's got to be more about egos than smart business decisions. I'm one of those users who will actually pay for an entire season of my favorite show to watch on my laptop while traveling or at home. I've discovered new shows this way by buying and downloading half a dozen pilots of slightly older shows that are getting great reviews. Now with an iPhone they have started contributing to my eagerness to work out on an elliptical machine because I can watch them there as well.

So now, NBC, what I'm I supposed to do?

What do you think I will do if I want to continue watching my favorite shows on my MacBook Pro or my iPhone? Ask yourself that question. A loyal, paying customer is no longer offered a great product that he is totally willing to pay for. What will he do? What are his options? Remember Prohibition? You are literally forcing this loyal customer to investigate ways of downloading these shows of which you have ZERO revenue for. Is that what you want? Think about it. Don't dismiss it. Take even 10 minutes and consider that and tell me what you think you're going to do to your digital business.

Okay, I agree. Steve can be a pain in the butt. I've never been in a meeting with him or worked directly for him, and for all of his genius he's clearly not an easy person to do business with. AND he's not always right.

BUT, he's usually right, the vast majority of the time when it comes to this stuff. And you know it. And that pisses you off.

One almost has to wonder if he's difficult because he has a secret time machine that he keeps hopping in and popping back to today. When he's forced to deal with people who are clinging with fear, pride, and outmoded ways of thinking and doing business, I would think that's enough to challenge the patience of Job or Jobs. ;-)

No matter what your ego or pride says on this one, you are on the wrong side of this argument. Either you're too old or too technically ignorant to understand that the digital genie is already out of the bottle. iTunes will NOT go down in history as the event that ransacked the Music industry. iTunes is the ONLY way that offers an easy, reasonable way to actually pay for entertainment. It makes it so easy to pay for that we want to be legal, we want to honor the process and pay to own our art.

How many times do you have to hear that you're wrong before it sinks in and you swallow your pride and show true courage and integrity and say, "Hmm,... I think he may have something there. Maybe we should reconsider."

I'm not an Apple zombie and don't believe that everything Apple does is right and that Steve Jobs is Jesus. But the world would be a really dark, boring crappy place when it came to technology if it weren't for his vision and annoying and fortunate ability to see into the future.

So will you really bring NBC down with this totally outmoded way of thinking, or will somebody younger, smarter or more savvy replace you next year when the trend is more obvious and no one cares anymore how annoying it is that Jobs was right?

Food for thought. Definitely food for thought.\
post #20 of 48
Yep, as expected, Galactica is gone from iTunes

I don't get cable and I don't like waiting for DVD so the surprises are spoiled by the time I watch. So I subscribed to BSG until now.

I was hoping to buy BSG Razor from iTunes, but it's not happening. (Luckily I think my library will have that DVD pretty soon though. I won't have to wait a full season.)
post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

I think it's pretty hypocritical NBC whines about Apple's pricing policies, yet they pay their writers shi*.

My television writer buddies knock down six-figure salaries for what amounts to about two hours of work a day when averaged across a calendar year. I wouldn't mind a sh*tty deal like that.

Some writers have even laughed openly on the radio (during recent interviews about the current strike) about how little they actually do for the amounts of money they make, but believe --like pro athletes -- that if the company is making more money off their work via net distribution, they ought to get a bigger slice of the pie.

But it's hardly slave wages, at any rate.
post #22 of 48
They want to charge $4.99 per episode!? My local cinema charges $11.00 for a film, and $4.99 on Tuesday and the quality is HD. At that rate I'd wait for the DVD box set and let them try to get a grasp of reality in the meantime. At least in a cinema you know you are paying for staff, the maintenance of the screen and equipment, the cushy seating and so on, on top of the basic cost of the film. In the case of TV and film on iTunes there are little to none of the above and Apple is doing all the work of distribution.

What these film companies need to understand is that if you put the price too high, slap on too much DRM and people will either buy from another medium or switch to piracy. Maybe they do understand this, but their greed is fighting with the gree of people wanting things for free. Surely there is a middle road?
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

I think it's pretty hypocritical NBC whines about Apple's pricing policies, yet they pay their writers shi*."

As a currently-striking member of the WGA, I can assure you that writers are well-compensated. Even the non-union shows I've worked on pay writers close to six figures.

The strike entails much more than DVD/Internet compensation. Anyone interested in what's happening should check out http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com.
post #24 of 48
just get a hdtv usb stick with eyetv software and record all their shows then encode into h.264 format.
one way to stick it to nbc and their greedy corporate puppets.
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by runenfool View Post

Im sure that future episodes will be widely available on bittorrent - and guess what - those files can be made to work on an iPod or an Apple TV or computer or anything else. NBC just doesn't get it. Why make pay harder than free?

For someone that would download from bittorent, would they just download NBC shows or would they download every show that is available?
post #26 of 48
Quote:
"We know that Apple has destroyed the music business -- in terms of pricing -- and if we dont take control, theyll do the same thing on the video side," he said.

I never bought music before iTunes came along. NEVER. Too many albums with 9 crap songs and two good ones. Now I buy music. One track at a time.

If anything $1.99 is too much for a tv show. Especially when it's not complete, like the WKRP fiasco. iTunes needs to provide a substantial discount for people buying an entire season too.

I was close to buying the Office, but it was a little too much money. I'll extract from my TiVo instead.

I won't be looking for shows anywhere else either, like Amazon. Apple and iTunes provided the best experience. Simple interface, plays on iPods and computers and Apple TV. Watching the networks try to provide a comparable experience is a joke. Shows that you can't even download?! How have these people stayed in business so long?

It sounds like I'm all over the map, but here's the bottom line. iTunes is the best option the networks have right now. Pulling the plug before they have a better plan in place doesn't make any sense for them or their shareholders. I'd like to see NBC explain to GE how losing the iTunes revenue stream makes sense for their investors.
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Yep, as expected, Galactica is gone from iTunes

I don't get cable and I don't like waiting for DVD so the surprises are spoiled by the time I watch. So I subscribed to BSG until now.

I was hoping to buy BSG Razor from iTunes, but it's not happening. (Luckily I think my library will have that DVD pretty soon though.)


It's hard to say if that's a truly big loss yet, unfortunately.

Galactica was brilliant in the Miniseries, Season 1 and much of Season 2. But then, late in S2, the quality started to decline... to my horror. That was likely due to them going from 13 episode seasons to 20 eppy seasons. As Ron Moore, their showrunner, said, "It's harder to make each one special" under those conditions. Just not enough time. \

Whatever the case, Season 3 was not very good at all. It was just average TV, for the most part, which is bad by Galactica standards. Getting off of New Caprica was cool, the Eye of Jupiter story arc at mid-season was cool, and everything else was... meh. Really says something when Starbuck 'died' near the end of S3, and I just didn't care much. Couldn't imagine feeling that way during S1 or much of S2, when I hung on scene.

Hopefully, with the very long hiatus after Season 3, they've had a chance to get the quality back up. I haven't seen BSG Razor yet, but friends who have said it was strong. I'll be gettin' the DVD.

And prayin', prayin', PRAYING that Galactica gets it's groove back in Season 4. So say we all.






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post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by lfmorrison View Post

Is anybody outside of the USA able to download television shows or full-length movies from iTunes yet?

In Canada, you can still only get movie trailers and music videos. What's the situation elsewhere?

Yep. I'm near Scotland and I downloaded The English Patient through iTunes. Also recently got a John Mayer video.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Yep, as expected, Galactica is gone from iTunes

I don't get cable and I don't like waiting for DVD so the surprises are spoiled by the time I watch. So I subscribed to BSG until now.

I was hoping to buy BSG Razor from iTunes, but it's not happening. (Luckily I think my library will have that DVD pretty soon though. I won't have to wait a full season.)

It sucks as I too am a BIG BSG fan.

Total downer.
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post #30 of 48
NBC says it needs advertisement to make enough money to make a profit on a TV series (that $1.99 a show wont cover that by far with the current amount of downloaders) so they don't want the Apple model.

They forget to add that they already make a huge profit on every TV show, because when broadcasted on TV it is full of advertisement. Putting the shows on iTunes is just a small additional income.

But they are afraid that downloadable "on demand" TV, like iTunes soon become the future, and then they wont make "enough" money from that $1.99 a show. (although I personally believe that they just want to make the max amount of money.)

But they also have no clue on HOW to create a (for them) working business model. So they try free online, but crippled; with ads, low quality, only in streaming... you might as well watch TV or video tape it!

And, most importantly, they forget people are handy enough to find it for free online without those restrictions... just like they do with music.

The only way to combat "pirating" tv series is by offering the closest possible alternative: ad free, for a low price, just like iTunes offers.

Some say offering FREE downloadable TV shows, with only some ads at the start and end, without restrictions (it has to work on all the different apparatus) is the solution, I think this solution only makes life easier for pirates: they download the show, edit the ads away and offer it without ads as a Torrent....
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by pt123 View Post

For someone that would download from bittorent, would they just download NBC shows or would they download every show that is available?

It depends on the person. Some people download everything. Other people buy what is available and only pirate when they don't have the option to buy.

NBC's actions aren't going to make a difference with the first group, but they'll lose customers in the second.

If NBC really wanted to raise prices on downloadable TV content, they'd need to justify it somehow. I could only see paying more if they gave you a rebate on the DVD's or something like that.

Wouldn't that be appealing to customers? Buy the season in advance for like $50, then get the $35 DVD for free when it ships?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S10 View Post

Some say offering FREE downloadable TV shows, with only some ads at the start and end, without restrictions (it has to work on all the different apparatus) is the solution, I think this solution only makes life easier for pirates: they download the show, edit the ads away and offer it without ads as a Torrent....

That's not how most pirates get TV content. They just capture the HD broadcast from the airwaves and edit out the ads. Most streaming/download has some sort of DRM so it's easier to just capture it when it airs (not to mention that's top resolution and surround sound).
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBaggins View Post

I haven't seen BSG Razor yet, but friends who have said it was strong. I'll be gettin' the DVD.

And prayin', prayin', PRAYING that Galactica gets it's groove back in Season 4. So say we all.
...

Your friends are right about Razor, it rocked. It was nice to see some background on that b!t*h of a commander.
My wife first started watching it with me during Season 3 and we just lately started watching the mini, S1 & 2 on iTunes and our Apple TV once Razor aired. She's getting hooked. And this is a girl who loves romances. She loves Heroes which is another we watch together.

NBC corporate sucks.
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by waytogobuddy View Post

Um, shouldn't the headline read "NBC drops television shows from Apple's iTunes"

It really depends. That music company with a partly similar name (still a very separate company) didn't renew their contract but sales are still effectively on a month-to-month basis after a lapsed contract, where existing titles are still sold, but no new titles are. In this case, the old stuff is gone, but I don't know if it's publicly known if Apple pulled it or NBC did.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by akabaka View Post

Looks like Universal won't be getting any more "Battlestar Galactica" money from me. Your loss, pal.

Nor DVD money...if it Season 3 ever comes out in my lifetime.
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by S10 View Post

NBC says it needs advertisement to make enough money to make a profit on a TV series (that $1.99 a show wont cover that by far with the current amount of downloaders) so they don't want the Apple model.

The networks might make $0.35 per audience member in ad revenue for a full prime time episode. While they should be trying to get the most they can (maximize per-person x audience size), I think they are doing very well getting their ~$1.50 an episode from Apple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zanshin View Post

My television writer buddies knock down six-figure salaries for what amounts to about two hours of work a day when averaged across a calendar year. I wouldn't mind a sh*tty deal like that.

Some writers have even laughed openly on the radio (during recent interviews about the current strike) about how little they actually do for the amounts of money they make, but believe --like pro athletes -- that if the company is making more money off their work via net distribution, they ought to get a bigger slice of the pie.

For what it's worth, the WGA claims to not get anything at all from internet sales while they might make $0.04 a $20 DVD.
post #36 of 48
That's too bad, because I don't have time to sit in front of a TV to watch NBC's shows, and I watch them on the commuter train on my iPhone while going to work. Oh well, I guess NBC will have to do without another viewer of its programs.
post #37 of 48
I wanted to respond to the knuckedhead exec who claims Steve jobs is killing the music industry. If memory serves me correctly, the music industry was doing a really excellent job of that prior the the relief and genius of iTunes. I for one will never, ever visit an NBC website for content, TV shows are disposable content, don't these guys get it...who will ever pay more than a couple of dollars for ( no commercials on iTunes) 20 minutes of television grade content
post #38 of 48
They might be able to charge $2.99 for recent, hit, hour-long TV shows (like Heroes), while keeping $1.99 for half-hour shows... but anything above that, no way Jose. I just won't pay it. \

Guess NBC just doesn't get that they're killing the golden goose, which would make them just as dumb as the music industry, and that's quite a feat. That said, I doubt Jobs is showing significant flexibility either.

As Apple becomes increasingly successful, his 'my way or the highway' instincts seem to be coming to the fore. The prob is, we've seen this show before... failure sets up success, but success also sets up failure.


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post #39 of 48
I just did a Wiki search on the guy...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Zucker#NBC_career
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by waytogobuddy View Post

Um, shouldn't the headline read "NBC drops television shows from Apple's iTunes"

YES and also add "and makes AppleTV even more useless."
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