NBC Will Not Renew ITunes Contract
NBC Universal, unable to come to an agreement with Apple on pricing, has
decided not to renew its contract to sell digital downloads of television shows
The media conglomerate — which is the No. 1 supplier of digital
video to Apple’s online store, accounting for about 40 percent of downloads —
notified Apple of its decision late yesterday, according to a person familiar
with the matter who asked for anonymity because negotiations between the
companies are confidential.
A spokesman for NBC Universal, part of General Electric, confirmed
the decision, but otherwise declined to comment. A spokesmen for Apple declined
to comment. The decision by NBC Universal highlights the escalating tension
between Apple and media companies, which are unhappy that Apple will not give
them more control over the pricing of songs and videos that are sold on iTunes.
NBC Universal is also seeking better piracy controls and wants Apple to
allow it to bundle videos to increase revenue, the person familiar with the
NBC Universal is the second major iTunes supplier recently to
have a rift with Apple over pricing and packaging matters. In July, the
Universal Music Group of Vivendi, the world’s biggest music corporation, said it
would not renew its long-term contract with iTunes. Instead, Universal Music
said it would market music to Apple at will, which would allow it to remove its
songs from iTunes on short notice.
The action by Jeff Zucker, NBC
Universal’s chief executive, will not have an immediate impact on iTunes. The
current two-year deal extends through December, so a vast video catalog — some
1,500 hours of NBC Universal’s news, sports and entertainment programming — will
remain available on iTunes at least until then.
Among the most popular NBC
Universal shows available for sale on iTunes are “Battlestar Galactica,” “The
Office” and “Heroes.” The company has been talking to iTunes about offering
Universal movies, but has not done so to date because of piracy
This kinda sucks. I was hoping to keep up with Heroes on iTunes this season.