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  (Source: NBC)
NBC has found a new home for its TV content:

It may be nearing the end of summer, but last week proved particularly heated, as media giants Apple and NBC Universal exchanged terse statements.

The dispute began when NBC Universal decided not to renew its contract to sell its TV content on iTunes.  DailyTech reported on Friday, that the two parties were parting ways, and that after the contract's expiration in December, iTunes would no longer sell NBC's TV programming, including the popular shows, "Heroes," “30 Rock” and "The Office."

NBC openly admitted that much of the dispute was over pricing, as well as NBC wanting the ability to package content together as it chose.

The split was not the first between Apple and a major media provider.  In June, the
Universal Music Group of Vivendi (UMG) announced that it would not be renewing its contract with iTunes, and would no longer sell its music on iTunes.  The move was thought to be partially instigated by Apple's slow adoption of DRM-free music technology.  UMG's artists included pop, rock, and rap acts such Akon, Rhianna and U2.

NBC was the first major television content producer to drop iTunes, though. 
ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks still provided shows with iTunes.  Further, NBC was one of iTunes' largest content providers, providing 30% of iTunes sales of TV content.

DailyTech recently chronicled the next episode in the Apple and NBC saga, with the breaking news that the conflict heating up, following the release of a statement from Apple.  Apple claimed in its statement that NBC had demanded an astronomic 150% price increase from $1.99 per episode, to $4.99 episode.  Further Apple decided to drop NBC's content early, in September, before the start of the next television season.

iTunes VP Eddy Cue is quoted by DailyTech as saying, "We are disappointed to see NBC Universal leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase, we hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers."

Now there is more headline news in the evolving drama between Apple and NBC, with the entry of a new player: reports that NBC plans to sell its content through Amazon's Amazon Unbox service, in a "variety of packages". 

Pricing and terms were not disclosed, but many speculate that offered some of the concessions in price increases that iTunes would not.  Also, the announcement clearly indicates that Amazon is willing to provide NBC with the ability to control its show's content, something Apple would not do.  The article also states that NBC had been unhappy with Apple's failure to provide stronger anti-piracy measures.

While NBC did not specify prices for episodes under the new agreement, it did mention that there would be discounts to customers purchasing entire seasons of NBC TV shows.  Also pilot episodes will be available to download free of charge.

Fans of NBC programming can be happy to know that they will be able to download the TV shows--from someplace--though they may have to pay more for it.

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RE: Apple
By teclis1023 on 9/6/2007 1:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not one to usually weigh in on these types of arguments, but I think I might on this one. Just a warning - I use Vista, XP, Ubuntu and OS-X. I am not really biased toward one company or the other, and sort of see Microsoft and Apple as being two sides of the same coin.

Regarding the itunes pricing thing...I have generally found iTunes' pricing to be adequate and fair. I am not anti-DRM, and do not pirate any music/software/video. Because of this, DRMs rarely affect me adversely. I understand the open-source mentality (again, I love linux) but at the same time, I feel that customers end up putting too much expectation and demand on companies to cater to their every whim and desire.

I think that NBC's desired price hike is lame, and if they go through with it, I won't purchase their shows in a digital format, especially when I can get the entire season's DVD with 30 episodes for the price of 10 lower-quality digital files! If they want to do that, then it's fine, but moving away from the Apple infrastructure is only going to hurt them (as we know from the 'tremendous success' of iTunes' competitors)

While it's true that having a hardware/software company also dictate the pricing of digital services and subscriptions is definitely sketchy, I feel that with iTunes, you're simply presented with an alternative option. If iTunes was THE ONLY way to receive TV shows and music, then it would be one thing, but I can get a DVD, or subscribe through MS, Real, Napster, etc. The reason iTunes is the best is not only because of its seamless integration with the iPod, but also because of the relatively solid software infrastructure it's built on. The bottom line is that Apple made a very smart move in creating the iTunes software package and store.

In terms of the intense apple-hate that a lot of people feel... my opinion is that if you want to bag on Apple for making profits, then just use Linux. Certainly no Windows user should be upset at Apple for their can buy a full computer (Mac Mini) with a fully functional operating system for only $200 more than the Vista Ultimate software alone costs. Add in Microsoft's desire to make proprietary every file format and extension possible, and you've got a company hell-bent on forcing its users to continue suckling at the MS Teat for years and years.

It's definitely true that Apple computers are not cheap...but let's be honest with ourselves...sub-$1000 laptops from HP/Dell/Toshiba usually suck anyways, and they come loaded with crappy trial software, bad quality hardware and horrible customer service. Spending an extra $200 for a great laptop really doesn't seem outrageous, especially considering the massive amounts of fully functional software that comes included.

Hey, I don't care who uses which computers, but for the morons who go around bashing Apple or Linux or whoever, take a chill pill and stick to the issues. If you don't like someone's pricing...go somewhere else. In the end, that's the best way to change the market. Don't be a sheep.

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