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NBC, Apple warming up

updated 09:15 am EST, Mon January 21, 2008

NBC Apple Warm Up

NBC Universal may be making conciliatory gestures to Apple as part of an effort to revitalize its business, according to a new report by the Financial Times (free trial or paid subscription required). In addition to cutting back on pilot TV shows and other practices that hurt the studio's costs, the network is said to have "patched up relations" with its momentary rival, which it accused of delivering pennies per sale for iTunes video sales, providing just $15 million over the last 12 months of NBC's time on the Apple-run store.

"We've said all along that we admire Apple, that we want to be in business with Apple," says NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker, who had previously accused Apple of refusing to even experiment with flexible pricing.

The apparent recovery signals a returned emphasis to exposing its TV shows to the digital realm as much as possible rather than depending on only a handful of services. NBC Universal launched a private beta of its Hulu ad-sponsored web TV service just as the Apple dispute came to a head and began offering its shows on smaller online stores such as SanDisk Fanfare in an attempt to foster competitors. Hulu has yet to enter public use and so has yet to provide an accurate gauge of its financial success in relation to the iTunes effort.

Signs of improvement in relations may have surfaced with the announcement of an Apple TV update that included rentals from the firm's Universal movie studios as ell as the ability to directly purchase any iTunes content directly from the hub, including TV shows. Opponents such as Vudu have already offered some NBC-broadcast TV shows and Universal movies directly through their own devices.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Feathers

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Oct 1999


    how sore...

    ...will NBC Universal's belly be as it crawls back to iTunes. that's gotta hurt!

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005



    Hmm, Apple comes out with what looks like will be a wildly successful download service, even if there isn't mass adoption anytime soon. NBC's attempt to make this happen doesn't make a good showing.

    Do I hear apologetic slinking in NBC movement. I think, yes, yes I do. Can you hear it?

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2004


    Strike damage

    The writers strike is going to cost studios viewers as people find better things to do, rather than watch reruns. This is going to help Apple's position, because NBC will need to get viewers back. iTunes us a fantastic way to promote their shows, and make some money.

    I discovered the fantastic update to Battlestar Galactica via iTunes. I am sure many have discovered shows, or kept up with them via iTunes.

  1. chas_m



    As predicted ...

    ... in this very space some months ago. Jeebus network executives are stupid people. How can *I* get that cushy, overpaid job??

  1. pairof9s

    Senior User

    Joined: Jan 2008


    makes sense...

    It just wasn't good business on either party to allow this to continue. Too much money was being left on the table. Zucker did shoot his mouth off a little too much but in the end, it's good for Apple to not take it personally and get those NBC shows & others (new or not) back on iTunes.

    It's just good business!


  1. horvatic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2002


    We knew they would

    We all knew they would. iTunes sells the most music, TV, and movies on the web. There petty crying before and running away just made there business WORSE not better. I give them about a month or two and NBC will be back on iTunes or go out of business, one of the two.

  1. simdude

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2004


    how about series rentals?

    I think the new movie rental stuff on iTunes makes sense and l love it. Why not the same for TV shows? i.e. maybe a season for $10 instead of the $35+ to buy it. I would gladly order 10-15 shows and reduce my cable to the absolute minimum.

  1. Rezzz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006


    Zucker says..

    >>> Financial Times >

  1. Rezzz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006


    take 2...

    From the Fianancial Times: -- The decision to make NBC Universal's films available for Apple's iTunes' rental program is consistent with NBCU's decision not to renew its contract for TV show sales, CEO Jeff Zucker told the FT. The difference? Variable pricing for the films.

    Zucker: "We want to be in business with Apple. We never said that we did not want to be in business with Apple. But we want to do it on terms we feel comfortable with."

    And that is quite consistent with NBCU's stance all along. ---

    keep you fingers crossed..

  1. Tanker10a

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003


    Humble Pie

    What does a nice piece of Humble Pie taste like? NBCYumm Good.

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