Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

NBC pulls its TV shows from Apple iTunes

December 3, 2007: 9:04 AM ET

picture-22.jpgNo more ad-free episodes of The Office, 30 Rock, Scrubs or Friday Night Lights for $1.99 each.

As promised, NBC (GE) removed all its content and that of its affiliates from the iTunes Store over the weekend after its contract with Apple (AAPL) expired.

That means no shows on iTunes from Bravo, mun2, NBC, NBC News, CNBC, NBC Sports, Sci Fi, Sleuth, Telemundo or USA Network. (Some shows aired on NBC but produced by other Hollywood studios such as Viacom, Disney or 20th Century Fox are still available.)

NBC has put some of that content on NBC Direct, an ad-supported download service that runs only on Windows machines; a Mac version is due next year. Its shows will also be available on hulu.com, a joint venture with News Corp. Both services are still in beta.

NBC had been Apple's single largest partner for digital video, with more than 1,500 hours of programming representing either 30% or 40% of iTunes video content, depending which side you believe. Talks to renew the contract reached an impasse last August. NBC wanted to be able to charge more than $1.99 for its most popular shows. Apple insisted on a flat per-show rate and claimed that the network wanted to raise prices to as much as $4.99 per episode. (See Apple to NBC: Drop Dead.)

In a recent interview, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker insisted its demands were "modest" and complained that Steve Jobs was undervaluing video content in order to sell more iPods.

"We don't want to replace the dollars we were making in the analog world with pennies on the digital side," he said, according to Variety.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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