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. Global Tech News 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.
Global Tech News 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 Global Tech News 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: Amazon.com. CNNMoney.com 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 Amazon.com 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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