Amidst Apple iTunes Store standoff, NBC offers up TV shows on Microsoft’s Zune

“After a pricing spat with Apple led NBC to pull its video content from iTunes, the broadcaster has struck a deal with Microsoft’s Zune online store,” Nancy Gohring reports for IDG News Service.

“On Tuesday, as part of an announcement about new Zune features, Microsoft planned to say that it will start selling television programs at the Zune store for viewing on its portable music player. NBC is among the broadcasters supplying videos for the service,” Gohring reports.

“The videos, which also come from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Turner Broadcasting and VH1, will cost US$1.99 each. Users will be able to choose from 800 episodes,” Gohring reports.

MacDailyNews Take: So, how long will these video files last, Microsoft? Please see:
EFF demands Microsoft issue refunds for music that no longer PlaysForSure (not that it ever did) – May 01, 2008
Microsoft to shut down PlaysForSure DRM services, strand customers to existing PCs – April 23, 2008

“The price is significant because it is the same that Apple charges for most TV programs in iTunes. However, at the time of the dispute between Apple and NBC last year, Apple said NBC wanted to increase its wholesale price of each episode by so much that Apple would have to charge $4.99 per episode. Apple said it wouldn’t agree to that price change,” Gohring reports. “‘We have worked closely with them around flexibility and protection of IP,’ said Julio Estrada, general manager for Zune Social. ‘Zune will control the price of the episodes, but we’re open to understanding which episodes can be priced lower and how we may introduce premium content which may be priced higher than $1.99,’ he said.

MacDailyNews Note: From Microsoft’s press release: “Partnering with Zune will allow us to develop innovative content offerings for their customers, including flexible pricing and packaging options beginning this fall,” said JB Perrette, president of NBC Universal Digital Distribution. “NBC Universal is excited to offer our hit television shows to Zune customers.” …Each television show will be priced at 160 Microsoft Points per episode (approximately $1.99) at launch.

Microsoft’s “Points” are a scam. More on that here: Zuned: What’s the ‘deal’ with Microsoft Points? – November 12, 2006

Gohring continues, “Microsoft launched the Zune in late 2006, joining a market that had been picking up steam since Apple launched the iPod in 2001. Microsoft has sold more than 2 million Zunes. That compares to more than 10 million iPods sold in the first three months of this year [and over 140 million units total as of January 2008].

Full article here.

Zune is an abject failure propped up by Microsoft and their willing accomplices in the media.

What NBC has done is the equivalent of a major retailer closing all of their highly-profitable, market-dominating stores around the world in order to open a single mini-mart in Estonia.

Obviously, NBC is currently run by a fool (Jeff Zucker) who thinks he can out-negotiate Steve Jobs. It ain’t working out so great, now is it Jeffie?

Apple has sold over 140 million iPods to date. In fact, Apple sold 22.121 million iPods during the last 90 or so days of 2007 (holiday quarter). In other words, Apple outsold all of the Zunes ever sold in just 8 days in December. Happy Hanukkah, Jeff.

How long will it take for General Electric (NBC’s corporate parent) CEO Jeffrey Immelt to step in to fix the inept Zucker’s mess?


  1. Wow, did you see the MASSES of people rushing to the store to buy Zune’s after this announcement! Simply astounding… And traffic on their site has been staggering!

    And then, everyone woke up.

  2. “…develop innovative content offerings for their customers, including flexible pricing and packaging options…”

    Well, until they close down the service in 2 years time and you can’t upgrade your PC lest you lose access to your legally purchased episodes. And you can’t even burn them onto a DVD to remove the DRM.

  3. What they’re not saying is that the price is actually, wait, wait for it… 160 points! Yes, that’s it, 160 Zune Points. Now, if I’m a Zune Marketplace user with some 895 points in my account, quick, someone tell me how many episodes can I buy? If a season has 12 episodes, how many more points do I need for a full season? How much actual money is this going to cost me? Let’s see: the exchange rate for this made-up currency is 80 per US dollar. This is about the same as Albanian Lek today. Maybe if I pretend I’m a tourist in Albania, this Zune Marketplace would make more sense and be easier to understand; let’s whip out that calculator now…

    I love bringing this up every time they mention this Zune Marketplace concept. This is surely a bean counter’s wet dream. To all the rest of us, it is obviously a colossal hassle and I’d love to meet an ordinary person who is using this out of their own free will.

  4. BTW, I took a moment to google up an exchange rate list to find out which currencies of the world are worth around 80 to a dollar; Albanian Lek was the closest, with Bangladeshi Taka right behind it at about 70 to a dollar…

  5. Sorry MDN, when you deal with GE, it’s only GE that makes money. That’s why M$ is in on the deal. They make so much money from Windoze and Office, they don’t mind losing money on Zune. Where the heck is Carl Ican when you need him??

  6. “What NBC has done is the equivalent of a major retailer closing all of their highly-profitable, market-dominating stores around the world in order to open a single mini-mart in Estonia.”

    beautiful, just beautiful. heh heh

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