Apple drops NBC television shows from iTunes

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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 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," 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," Apple?s 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 Syracuse?s 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 don?t take control, they?ll 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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 47
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    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...
  • Reply 7 of 47
    Looks like Universal won't be getting any more "Battlestar Galactica" money from me. Your loss, pal.
  • Reply 8 of 47
    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.)
  • Reply 9 of 47
    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?
  • Reply 10 of 47
    I think it's pretty hypocritical NBC whines about Apple's pricing policies, yet they pay their writers shi*.



    "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"
  • Reply 11 of 47
    Um, shouldn't the headline read "NBC drops television shows from Apple's iTunes"



    The RDF is waining....
  • Reply 12 of 47
    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?
  • Reply 13 of 47
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 47
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 47
    freenyfreeny Posts: 128member
    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
  • Reply 16 of 47
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,750member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by akabaka View Post


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



    ##&*[email protected]@*!

    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.

  • Reply 17 of 47
    palex9palex9 Posts: 105member
    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...
  • Reply 18 of 47
    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.\
  • Reply 19 of 47
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.)
  • Reply 20 of 47
    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.
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