Apple: No concessions made to NBC

“Apple has taken issue with NBC’s claims that the media conglomerate was able to change pricing policy at Apple,” Greg Sandoval reports for CNET.

“NBC Universal executives have suggested that they agreed to start selling downloads of TV shows on iTunes only after being allowed more flexibility to set prices for its wares on iTunes. That’s just not correct, Eddy Cue, the vice president in charge of Apple’s iTunes Store, told CNET News on Wednesday evening,” Sandoval reports.

“Cue pointed out that while most TV shows sell for $1.99 on iTunes, retailers have always been allowed to sell videos for less. He said Viacom has offered many of its shows for 99 cents, including episodes of South Park and MTV’s The Hills. The History Channel has offered shows such as Ice Road Truckers and Ax Men,” Sandoval reports. “‘We’ve never told anyone they can’t lower prices,’ Cue said.”

“Cue said that the $2.99 price NBC is selling its HD content for is the same price for all HD content. ‘People can see (Showtime’s) Californication in HD live right now on the site,’ Cue said. And when it comes to packages, Cue said there have been packages on iTunes before,” Sandoval reports.

Cue told CNET, “‘We’re glad to have NBC back and they are participating under the same terms with all of the other content providers,'” Sandoval reports.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “MacVicta” for the heads up.]

And the reason Cue called Sandoval was because of Sandoval’s September 9th reprinting of NBC PR’s talking points — so obvious and stupid that we just ignored it at the time — “Apple yields to NBC Universal on price, packaging.” You left that part out, Greg.

As we said the minute that NBC’s return to iTunes Store was announced: “Jobs won as usual.”


  1. Thank you Apple for not caving in on this issue.

    They should continue to push harder for lower prices though, I am glad they allow lower prices, more providers should lower their prices, most shows are not worth the maximum price.

    Lower prices will lower piracy as well, as lower prices encourage buying instead of stealing. Many steal because the price is too high for what you get, so it makes it easier to rationalize getting it another way.

  2. “Frankly, ever since we dropped our relationship with Apple last fall, they have made a gradual progression culminating in (Tuesday’s announcement that NBC was returning to iTunes),” Perrette told CNET. “Originally, Apple had no film content (from the major motion picture studios) on the service because they were asking the film studios for years to accept a price that was below their DVD price.

    “Apple realized it wasn’t worth the fight anymore,” Perrette continued. “They were better off to just have the content. So they agreed to the pricing that was at least equal to the DVD pricing.”

    Where’d this Perrette guy come from? He’s cruising for a bruising. Sure he may be right but what’s an NBC exec and iTunes partner doing making comments like that?

  3. I don’t think the prices are unreasonable. iTunes is my own source of video content these days. I spend anywhere from $4 to $10 a day for TV shows and movies. If I feel it’s getting too expensive, I just stop pressing the “Buy” button. I’m in control of my monthly bill.

    It’s a different model and it’ll take a while for the general population to adjust to it. Rather than $50 for cable that gets used or not, and hours of wasted airtime with commercials that make up the difference in cost, now we consumers pay the costs directly and get our time back.

  4. I spend anywhere from $4 to $10 a day for TV shows and movies. If I feel it’s getting too expensive, I just stop pressing the “Buy” button. I’m in control of my monthly bill. It’s a different model and it’ll take a while for the general population to adjust to it. Rather than $50 for cable that gets used or not

    Dude, you’re a genius! Rather than spending $50/month you’ve found a way to spend… lessee.. oh, wait… is that right… 4 x 30… okay so $120 to $300 a month?

    Whoa. Well done.

  5. @ Nerd Beautiful,

    I thought it was just me who read coolfactor’s comment and thought, whoa, I’d rather spend $50 than more than twice to six times that.

    $4 to $10 a day? I’m sure Apple and the studios are happy to have customers like that.

  6. I agree with R2. This Perrette guy claims that Apple agreed to the same or higher prices than DVD. He must be complete idiot! It takes about 30 seconds to find out that this is a lie.

    Check a new, current movie on iTunes: “Baby Mama” (An Universal release, no less) – $14.99. Same thing on DVD on Amazon: $17.99 (plus shipping).

    Keep checking and you’ll see the same thing.

  7. Nah, Predrag, Perrette was right there. Jobs wanted $9.99 movies on iTunes (which is what they should be). He caved in order to get his foot in the door.

    Perrette has no business discussing that matter, however. He should’ve kept his mouth shut. You didn’t see Eddy Cue going on about NBC’s affairs (like their piss poor ratings).

  8. R2,

    The thing is, he’s talking about their initial negotiations, two years ago. Jobs wanted the pricing to be totally simple – Albums, Movies, same thing – $10. Nice, round number. That obviously didn’t work – the studios were just too dumb and greedy to get that.

    Where Perrette is lying is about the final “triumph” of the studios, having iTunes pricing same or higher (!!) than DVD. Other than new releases most movies are $10 after all. On Amazon, you’ll be hard pressed to find a movie that sells for less than it does on iTunes (of course, there are movies that are cheaper than $10 on Amazon, but they aren’t available on iTunes – yet).

    While negotiating for movies on iTunes, Jobs may have caved in the end. However, he didn’t even blink since NBC left and they just came back crawling with their tail between their legs.

    This is the sweet victory for Apple that Perrette just can’t accept, so he lies outright.

  9. NBC is irrelevant. In the very near future, all television production will be distributed digitally directly from the studios that make them in the first place. At that time, NBC will be promptly located where they should always have been: up Shit Creek without rabbit ears.

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