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Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

NBC strongly opposed to Apple's 99 cent iTunes rental model

NBC Universal is unlikely join a pair of its peers in serving up a la carte TV show rentals to Apple TV users for 99 cents for pop through Apple's iTunes Store later this year, according to comments from the company's top executive.

"We do not think 99 cents is the right price point for our content," NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker said on Wednesday at Goldman Sachs investor conference. "We thought it would devalue our content."

NBC currently offers iTunes customers the option of purchasing its shows outright for $1.99. But like the vast majority of networks that also distribute their content through the digital download service for the same price, it has balked at Apple's new 99 cent model announced earlier this month alongside the revamped Apple TV set-top box.

Thus far, only Walt Disney's ABC and News Corp's Fox have agreed to the price cut, though News Corp President Chase Carey similarly told investors at the same conference Wednesday that its participation in the matter is only a "short-term test."

For NBC and Zucker, this isn't the first time they've entered into a stalemate with Apple over digital download pricing on the iTunes Store. After accounting for roughly 40% of video downloads through the service in 2007, the network abruptly pulled its video library from iTunes after Apple wouldn't agree to a reported 100% increase in the wholesale price of each show.

During an October 2007 breakfast hosted by Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Communications, Zucker even went as far as to single out Apple for 'destroying' music pricing and urged his colleagues to take a stand against the company's iTunes Store, alleging that the service was undermining the ability of traditional media companies to set profitable rates for their content online.


NBC eventually caved to the popularity of the iTunes Store, signing back on with the service to sell its standard definition content for $1.99 an episode and HD content for $2.99 an episode less than a year later.