NBC News to Sell Programs on iTunes

May 25, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC News is becoming the first network news division to make programs available on Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes store.

News shows and documentaries from the past, present and future will be available for downloading at $1.99 per purchase, NBC said Thursday in a statement.

The initial offerings include some “time capsule” programs created specifically for iTunes and hosted by “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams and Tim Russert-hosted episodes of “Meet the Press” featuring presidents.

NBC News’ iTunes deal fits the network’s plans to integrate digital distribution into its television offerings. NBC News audio podcasts on iTunes have, over the last 11 months, racked up an average of 500,000 customers per month, and that appetite appears to be growing, NBC said. Recent NBC Entertainment offerings, such as “The Office,” are thought to have benefited in the ratings by being available to download on iTunes.

Such anecdotal evidence indicates “this is another format in which consumers are comfortable,” said NBC News VP Mark Lukasiewicz, who said it will be interesting to see consumer response to the news offerings.

NBC News documentaries available on iTunes range from the commercial (“Secrets to the Code,” timed to the feature film “The DaVinci Code”) to the cerebral (“America’s Astronauts: From Mercury to Apollo to Today”) and pop oddities (Tom Snyder doing the first American TV interview with U2 in 1981).

Some of CNBC’s long-form programs including the award-winning “The Age of Wal-Mart” and “Mad Money” specials featuring the manic Jim Cramer also will be available. Some MSNBC programs will be sold.