NBC Pleased With Flexibility in iTunes Deal

Sep 9, 2008  •  Post A Comment

In the new NBC Universal-Apple deal announced today, NBC said, it obtained the pricing flexibility it has been demanding from iTunes for the last year. That’s what J.B. Perrette, president of digital distribution at NBC Universal, told TelevisionWeek during a phone interview after an Apple event in San Francisco.
NBC and Apple joined forces today for the second time after the pair’s split last year in a dispute over the prices of NBC’s shows on iTunes. NBC wanted flexible prices; Apple wouldn’t allow that.
But now NBC is able to offer its broadcast and cable shows at several different price points, Mr. Perrette said. “We weren’t on there because of pricing flexibility, and now we have three types of pricing for individual shows,” he said.
NBC will offer library titles, such as “The A-Team” or “Saved by the Bell,” at 99 cents per full episode, episodes from current shows like “The Office” and “30 Rock” at $1.99 per episode and episodes in hi-def at $2.99 per episode.
But it’s worth noting $1.99 is typically the price at which iTunes offers current episodes of TV programs. Also, NBC did not secure the same pricing that HBO has. HBO, as an example, offers “The Sopranos” on iTunes at $2.99 per episode.
Mr. Perrette added that from time to time, NBC will offer season passes to its shows at a discounted rate. That’s an option the programmer did not have before. Those season-pass discounts will be 20% to 25% off the typical season-pass price. In addition, via iTunes NBC will offer compilation packages such as Tina Fey’s six favorite “30 Rock” episodes.
“It’s the way the traditional wholesale model works, and it offers consumers a lot more options than a year ago,” Mr. Perrette said.
He added that NBC and Apple have been in touch over the last year and that the current deal crystallized in the last two months. NBC was eager to finalize a deal in advance of the fall season, he said, adding, “It can’t hurt from a promotional standpoint to give our series some more visibility.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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    – Mike

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