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. Ballmer’s first job out of college was assistant product manager for Duncan Hines’ Moist & Easy cakes and brownies. His cubicle mate was Jeffrey Immelt, now CEO of General Electric.

    After all, they probably shared some special, moist and easy brownie moments together.

  2. Is that fear I smell coming from the I-Pod lemmings? I think what we have here is the beginning of the end for the I-Tunes Store.

    As I recall ‘BJ and the Bear‘—I love that little trucker monkey—as well as ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’ were both fantastic NBC offerings. Hubba hubba Erin Gray. Grrrrrrrrrr. And now that type of quality programming is only available at Zune Marketplace. Ha! How are you I-Pod dorks gonna enjoy the madcap misadventures of that cute little Twiki? YOU CAN’T! Because he’s only available at Zune Marketplace. Losers.

    The tide is most definitely turning in Zune’s favor, so much so that I can confidently project Zune to be the winner of the MP3 player wars. Buh-bye Apple.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  3. Allow us to offer “innovative content offerings for their customers, including flexible pricing and packaging options…”

    Translation: We will be able to behave like wireless phone companies, offering packages. We will try to get the consumer to spend as much as possible, leave money “on the table,” and even charge a higher rate if they exceed their package allocation. Oh the innovation! Isn’t it wonderful!

  4. @Spudly

    “NBC execs don’t really know what they’re doing with their media…except using it like a battered child in a bitter divorce.”

    That is an excellent analogy!


  5. I live in New York and have only ever seen one Zune in the store. I guess in a city of 8.5 million people, one of them was bound to be one of the six people who bought a Zune.

  6. You know… I’m being truthful here- I have yet to see anybody with a Zune. I’m serious. Not one person. I go to the gym 4 times a week- I commute to Boston periodically, etc. NEVER saw anybody with a Zune.

  7. Another New Yorker here. I live in Manhattan and take subway quite often. About six months ago, I saw one guy with a Zune on the subway. To put it in perspective, at any given time, in any given subway car, on any given day, there will be at least 5 pairs of white iPhone/iPod earbuds clearly visible. Keep in mind this is a low estimate and doesn’t account for the aftermarket black ones that people buy to avoid being mugged for their iPods (two years ago, this was big story in the news).

    Let’s watch Zune’s ‘success’ with their (MS)NBC alliance. With their points system and the exchange rate of the Albanian Lek, they may as well be selling in Albania only.

  8. Smells like Motorola spirit in here. Just wait one year and Jeff Zucker will run with the same luck as the old motorola CEO (I do not recall his name, but he was fired after the failure of the motorola mobile division and mocking about the iPhone).
    Isn’t Jeff Zucker last name supposed to be written with “S” and not “Z”?

  9. On another note, shaw wu’s clients are bound to be happy today as the stock takes a dip. I’ll buy some more after next reports of delayed iPhone rumors leads to another 150-160 dip.

  10. This oddly coincides with my searching Limewire last night (which I never do, honestly) for episodes of 30 Rock.

    Alas, it felt “dirty”, so I shut it off before the download was complete….wait.

  11. Microsoft’s strategy is to give the appearance that their atypically inferior product is the same or comparable, and at a lower price point. Par for the course. I’m not surprised they are expanding their Zune Marketplace with audio, video and books — yet another in the very very long line of Microsoft blatant copying of Apple’s business strategy.

    NBC has turned out to be very low class partner. While they demanded higher sales prices from Apple, then went and negotiated a deal at lower prices with Microsoft. I won’t be patronizing any of those shows, anywhere.

    MDN: I understand Estonia is a beautiful little country.

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