NBC shows return to iTunes after yearlong feud

Tue Sep 9, 2008 7:31pm EDT
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By Paul Bond

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Apple Inc. and NBC Universal have ended a yearlong disagreement over pricing that had been keeping NBC TV shows off the iTunes Store.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the occasion of the company's "Let's Rock" event in San Francisco to announce that, beginning immediately, NBC shows including "Heroes" and "The Office" are available via iTunes for $1.99 per episode or $2.99 for high-definition (HD) versions.

Library titles will sell for 99 cents, and NBC will have the ability to group shows -- like Tina Fey's six favorite episodes of "30 Rock," for example -- at prices yet to be determined.

In September, NBC was the top seller of video content on iTunes, but the network pulled its shows off the service when Apple refused to let NBC fiddle with pricing.

Apple claimed then that NBC was angling to raise the price of some shows from $1.99 to $4.99 per episode, while NBC denied that it sought such a dramatic price hike.

Although some quickly hailed the arrangement as proof that Apple has the power in its relationships with content companies, NBC digital distribution president JB Perrette saw it differently.

After all, he said, the $2.99 price point for HD shows is new since the last time around, as is the ability to creatively compile groups of episodes and price them accordingly.

"We finally got what we wanted: pricing flexibility," he said. "In short order, we'll be back in our No. 1 position."   Continued...

<p>Apple Inc CEO Steve Jobs discusses his company's "iTunes" product at Apple's "Let's Rock" media event in San Francisco, California September 9, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith</p>