Thursday, September 23, 2010, 05:45 pm PT (08:45 pm ET)
Viacom also opposed to Apple's 99 cent TV rentals, CBS will 'see what happens'Viacom's chief executive explained that Apple's 99 cent TV rental plan "doesn't work" for the company, while CBS is waiting to see the numbers for rentals of ABC and Fox show.
The comments came during a media executive conference hosted by Goldman Sachs and covered by the Wall Street Journal.
"The 99-cent rental is not a good price point," said Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. "It doesn't work for us."
As the owner of cable networks like Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, Viacom "invests heavily to produce its content," Dauman noted. Viacom is planning to increase its investment in original content.
"We value our content a lot," Dauman said. "We don't think Apple has it quite right yet."
Viacom's not the only network holding out on Apple. Les Moonves, chief executive at CBS, is still on the fence about the deal. Moonves complimented Apple, but opted to wait to see how the other two networks fare.
"What we said to themand the Apple guys are terrific and obviously the application is terrificis let us see what happens," Moonves said. "There are two networks in and two networks not in. Let's see what happens and maybe we'll talk again in January, maybe we'll talk again next year."
On Wednesday, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker expressed his dissatisfaction with Apple's aggressive pricing. "We do not think 99 cents is the right price point for our content," NBC Universal Chief Executive Zucker said. "We thought it would devalue our content."
NBC and Apple have clashed over pricing before. In 2007, the network pulled its video offerings from the iTunes Store after Apple refused to double wholesale prices.
Chase Carey, chief operating officer of Fox's parent company News Corp., was willing to take a "short-term" risk on the rental plan. "I think we have to be willing to test some things," Carey said. Earlier reports suggested that News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch agreed to the lower pricing in hopes of partnering with Apple on a news venture designed for the iPad. Murdoch sees the iPad as a golden opportunity for news organizations to transition to the digital era.
Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, was reportedly the first network on board. CEO Robert Iger wants to be a leader in adoption digital technologies.
"We made a decision five years agoactually when I got this jobthat we would be much better off aligning with technology companies than fighting them," said Iger.
Fox and ABC remain the first two studios to agree to the 99 cent rentals. Apple announced the new partnership alongside the unveiling of its redesigned Apple TV device.
"We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get on board pretty fast," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Sept. 1.
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