Friday, August 31, 2007

Apple and NBC call it a day

In the comments to TV on iTunes, Stephen Gallagher, taking the long view, wrote regarding paid-for television downloads:

The future's pretty much set. It's going to be one click, a deduction from your online credit account that's so small you don't think about it, and a download that's no different to an off-air recording.

I think we'll get there eventually, but not with the fucktards at NBC running the show.

News broke today that NBC were not willing to renew their contract with Apple, allowing the computer company to offer downloads of NBC's TV shows through iTunes, without renegotiating terms. Specifically, they wanted what Apple have so far denied every single one of its partners - the ability to determine pricing. Apple have always stuck to their guns in regards to pricing, even though it has sometimes cost them - as it did earlier this year when Universal Music threw their toys out of the pram and refused to resign.

NBC, perhaps thinking that they could bully Apple (who currently control 80% of the online channel) into letting them have their own way, must have been pretty surprised when a press release was later issued, point blank telling the greedy twat-weasels to go fuck themselves.

Apple® today announced that it will not be selling NBC television shows for the upcoming television season on its online iTunes® Store ( The move follows NBC’s decision to not renew its agreement with iTunes after Apple declined to pay more than 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. ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks, are signed up to sell TV shows from their upcoming season on iTunes at $1.99 per episode.

What an embarrasment for NBC. And what an entertaining spat.


  1. I thought it was more to do with NBC wanting to sell direct and the general annoyance in media industries at the power of online shops, especially iTunes.

    But if they seriously intend to use that pricing structure then "greedy twat-weasels" perhaps makes more sense.

  2. NBC also sell through Amazon, and there's no word there of any price increases, so although they are planning to sell direct, they're not opposed to partnership schemes per se.

    They have also issued the following statement, that flatly contradicts Apple's own:

    "We are also disappointed in not being able to successfully negotiate a new iTunes agreement with Apple. We're hopeful that we can reach a resolution before the existing contract expires. However, we felt it important to set the record straight.

    We never asked to double the wholesale price for our TV shows. In fact, our negotiations were centered on our request for flexibility in wholesale pricing, including the ability to package shows together in ways that could make our content even more attractive for consumers.

    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.

    In addition, we asked Apple to take concrete steps to protect content from piracy, since it is estimated that the typical iPod contains a significant amount of illegally downloaded material.

    Furthermore, we want consumers to know that all our returning series, including new episodes, will be available on iTunes through the remainder of the contract, which expires in early December. Our content is also available on,, and the soon-to-launch"

    Bizarre. Especially the unsubstantiated claim about iPods and illegal material.

  3. Unsubstantiated and also nothing Apple can do about it anyway but it successfully leaves the impression that Apple is deliberately condoning piracy to "drive sales of Apple devices."

  4. "the ability to package shows together"

    = Buy our good shows and pay extra for the shows that no-one wants to watch too!

    Cable TV have been doing this for years. Good call on Apple for denying them the Nidus.