NBC Fraks Itself

by Chris Adamson

You know something is up when the story goes from anonymous sources say NBC to end iTunes contract to Apple press release saying "see ya NBC" in the course of a few hours.


2007-08-31 13:52:38
Apple should have posted the NBC shows for $4.99 so we would have stats on the drop in purchases .

I still think that $1.99 is over priced for the junk that comes out of Hollywood.

2007-08-31 17:13:31
That's assuming that there will be a drop - right now we DON'T know exactly what the limits are for downloads at this point. Apple hasn't changed its pricing model much in the time it has had the iTunes store, and so far, the minimal changes I have heard about haven't had much effect.

Of course, it's easy to assume NBC is shooting its feet off, and Universal is going to feel it right now, but the same can be said for Apple. Those fans of Heroes, Bionic Woman, My Name is Earl and such may be willing to travel elsewhere for that download, or put up with the BS hassle to get it by other means.

My personal opinion is that any money spent downloading media is too much money, as anyone who puts in the work can get it for free, either by legitimately putting a little elbow grease in it and recording it, or by looking for the illegal copies online. Of course, I also prefer buying legitimate hardcopy over buying downloads - you never know where Apple or any other Download store will be in 5 minutes, 5 months or 500 years.

Point I am making about this is: don't put all of your horses in either company's success or failure. Best to do for yourself.

Tom Boucher
2007-08-31 19:12:00
I wrote NBC a letter letting them know I will no longer watch their channels. It hurts to not see BSG but I refuse to support them at all, just like Fox.
2007-08-31 19:58:30
Maybe I'm taking the wrong lesson away from this, but it looks to me like this is a case of what is more or less a portable media player monopoly ("attempts to unseat the iPod itself have largely been laughable") constricting the market for portable content (want music? then use iTunes...brought to you by the same company, coincidentally!). Without the influence of this monopoly, the content sellers could set prices and bitrates and DRM, then receive fiscal feedback from buyers. Once the buyers start to realize that, as with the Google Video Store, DRM-encumbered media is never owned but merely rented, non-DRM media will become a necessity.
2007-08-31 21:42:53
As has been analyzed elsewhere, if online download media prices are much higher than the price of buying a real physical disk (CD or DVD), then sales will plummet as people go back to Amazon and brick-and-mortar stores (and others go to BT). $1.99 per TV episode adds up to a whole-season price that is a bit higher than the full-season DVD. It can be reasoned that one is paying a slight premium for promptness in delivery, but few will pay _double_the_price_ for that privilege.
2007-09-01 00:15:05
Conspiracy theorist wake up call: There is a close relationship between Microsoft and Universal. Remember the Zuna agreement. Who pushed Toshiba to continue to use the HD-DVD format? Yep, Microsoft. Should I go on? Time to connect the dots.
2007-09-01 02:26:21
I think everybody is missing the point. REMEMBER it is not NBC it is MSNBC. You really think that the borg up in Redmond don't have a hand in this? NBC has been in bed with Billy for years and they have been assimilated. Maybe soon the dozen or 2 Zune owners will be able to watch MSNBC programming.
2007-09-01 03:18:08
Image if a company called Banana opened a CD and DVD store in a heretofore unexploited territory, and within a few years it was by far and away the biggest and best place to shop in that country. It's customers were happy, they bought lots of CDs and DVDs. Banana didn't make huge profits but gave the lions share of the takings back to the record companies and movie studios, who until this had been unable to unwilling to make any stores worth visiting in this land.

Then, one day, the biggest record company said it was going to pull all it's stock from Banana's stores, and instead give it to the smaller rivals. The reason for this is that Banana was too popular with it's customers, because sold everything at the same price.

I think you can see the ridiculousness of this story. I think you can see the clear motive is to 'break' the iTunes store, so that in the future Universal and NBC can charge even more for their music. And I think you'd have a hard time blaming Banana for any of the problems (some people seen all too keen to blame Apple for the iTunes pricing).

Just this week, the UK got a very restricted selection of TV shows on iTunes, but the pricing is virtually double that on the US store.

The only result of this kind of greedy action is going to be a drop in downloads, and an increase in piracy.

Come on Apple - it's time that Apple and Apple Corps started working together to sign up artists directly with iTunes. It's time that Apple and Disney started producing TV and films exclusively for iTunes.

David H Dennis
2007-09-01 03:39:09
i find it interesting that many stories are spinning this as "well, this shows how angry the labels are about iTunes pricing" when in reality it's all about the CEO of Universal and its subsidiaries obeying his mandate. It looks like one risky move, not a trend.

Haven't sales of TV shows in iTunes been somewhat disappointing for the networks? If so, more than doubling the prices and making them more than twice as expensive as buying the seasons from Amazon is not going to make them any friends. It seems like it might even be a good idea to lower the price. After all, music is pretty much forever - I have songs I listen to that i bought on CD years and years ago - but TV shows only get watched once or twice.

I think Universal's CEO just hates Steve and that's it. That kind of vendetta helps nobody.


2007-09-01 12:07:42
If there is a Microsoft proxy war with this maneuver, keep in mind that most of the DOJ settlement ends in November unless extended. Not likely by the Bush administration. If anyone thinks Microsoft has changed its ways, just look at how Microsoft Sweden offered extra "marketing contributions" to its business partners to encourage them to vote for the adoption of Microsoft Corp.'s Office Open XML format.
2007-09-01 15:40:46
Yes, they fraked themselves (or is it frakked?) Not sure, but that frakking show was the main reason I bought anything from NBC. But I notice that it's available in better quality on torrent sites. So, I'll just get it there.

I preferred the ease and legality of buying from iTunes, plus I like supporting a service (from Apple and NBC) that I think is superior to all the other crap, streaming, ad-filled content that is out there (thought the other option--the free options--are not necessarily crap, quality wise. But downloading and processing a torrent for QuickTime formats (ATV, iPod, iPhone) is certainly not as convenient.

Therefore, Frak You NBC Universal. Hello Mr. Torrent, can I have another?

2007-09-01 17:29:41
Based on the ridiculousness of NBC Universal's demands of Apple, I see this whole fracas was engineered by NBC-Universal to get them out of the iTS and act as free advertising for Hulu.com. Hulu will be their new store for NBC shows, which the company will be much happier with since they control the whole operation. It only suffers from the mild downside that it's going to Hindenburg in less than six months. Since they control the whole operation.

And that will be funnier than any comedy on NBC (and that includes THE OFFICE). Suck on it, NBC-Universal.

2007-09-03 05:17:20
"I wrote NBC a letter letting them know I will no longer watch their channels. It hurts to not see BSG but I refuse to support them at all, just like Fox."

Fox has many shows on iTunes. I assume you have a non-iTunes reason for your dislike?

2007-09-04 20:48:55
We don't have much video content in Australia...yet, but as an outside observer it seems the record companies (which NBC seem to be part of) have got their heads stuck up their collective backsides.

They contrinue to treat all iPod owners as thieves, and engage in bullying tactics etc. Glad Apple stuck it to them.