NBC calls Apple a Liar and us all Pirates

nbc_logo_240_001.jpgNBC issued a statement to the press responding to Apple’s Press Release on Friday.

“We never asked to double the wholesale price for our TV shows. In fact, our negotiations were centered on our request for flexibility in wholesale pricing, including the ability to package shows together in ways that could make our content even more attractive for consumers,” said Cory Shields, executive vice president of communications for NBC Universal, in a statement.

I don’t know about you, but if the content costs more – then it isn’t more attractive to me. They Shields went on to say “It is clear that Apple’s retail pricing strategy for its iTunes service is designed to drive sales of Apple devices, at the expense of those who create the content that make these devices worth buying.”

I would really like to see some hard numbers on this. I don’t see how selling digital content at an affordable and reasonable price is in anyway driving Apple sales while hurting NBC. I would love to see how much NBC is actually making off of these programs. I do not believe NBCs motive behind this is anything more than an attempt to throw further support behind their own online offerings like NBC.com and the upcoming hulu.com that they have invested so heavily in.

NBC Universal also asked Apple to “take concrete steps” to prevent piracy, the spokesman stated, “since it is estimated that the typical iPod contains a significant amount of illegally downloaded material.”

If there has ever been a more offensive line written about iPod and iPhone owners I’d like to read it. We’re all pirates. We’re all stealing their content, and hurting their families. If there is ANYTHING on the web that has help PREVENT piracy, it’s the iTunes store. Buying shows from iTunes is cheap enough that I don’t see the point in trying to download a show that I missed because of a DVR error or recording conflict. I just go to iTunes and download it. End of story.

If it was $4.99 an episode, you can be damn sure that I’d be missing that episode. There is NO WAY I will spend that much money for an episode of a television show…and don’t be misunderstood and think that NBC’s claims about a scaled pricing system are for our benefit. That’s the same crap the music industry has been trying to pull on us. They want to make the new, and most popular stuff more expensive. The only thing you’ll be seeing at $1.99 are old episodes of Knight Rider, and other archived content.

What NBC wants Apple to do (allegedly) is make it so that ONLY video purchase in iTunes would work on an iPod or iPhone. A move that would be incredibly unfair to those of us that produce our own content – and would make video podcasting impossible without having to DRM any video podcasted content.

NBC also claims that all of its new shows WILL be in iTunes – whether Apple likes it or not – until December. They will be using their current contract with Apple as leverage to attempt to force Apple to comply with this.

Good luck with that.

Steve Jobs is one of the most hard headed people that has ever lived, and he just might be willing to breach that contract on shear principle. We’ll see what happens.

Apple’s shares rose $2.23 cents on Friday after their NBC announcement, clearly showing their their investors and stock holders are behind them in this conflict.

Comments

  1. Honestly…

    NBC is showing total greed!

    1.) All they really have to do is hand over one file of each episode (that must cost a fortune).

    2.) If Apple would have never designed this store, had total success with it, NBC would have NEVER had this extra income from their shows.

    Total Greed… And raising prices would simply make people steal it if they want it… Lame move… B

  2. since where talking about $1.99 for tv shows for the ipod I think people should visit mobovivo.com. they offers tv shows that aren’t featured in itunes stores and sell them for $1.99 an episode. It is legal.. plus it will be integrated to your Itunes..

  3. NBC and most other big broadcasting networks are already making a fortune on their own business via advertisement and everything else.

    If they can’t be malleable enough to go with the digital age and open new and consumer friendly online stores, they are going to perish cos this is the future (near future) whether they like it or not.

    Now they don’t have to pay a portion of their already established fortunes on setting up and maintaining such online stores, Apple did that part for them and Apple did it beautifully being the number one online store and the third nationwide in music sales among all stores whether online or not. And they still had the nerve to mess with that and show not only greed but hostility towards Apple and even the customers themselves.

    Honestly I can’t see any more glaring example of lack of foresight than this. NBC you should fire your market research team ASAP and get yourselves a more IQ qualified (marketing people/spokespersons) if you are serious about staying up to your viewers expectations. Also a little apology for ipod users would be appropriate.

    Thanks Michael for your insight on this issue and keep up the good work.

  4. First, let’s not forget what the MS in MSNBC stood for … this will help us understand the mindset at NBC/Universal.

    Second, as a consumer in NBC’s target market I have the ability to let the advertisers know what I think of NBC insulting me as an ower of both an iPod and iPhone (used for this note).

    Finally, the market forces will speak! Ad dollars are already walking from broadcast outlets to online outlets. So put pressure on NBC and their mismanagement via their wallet! Contact a sponsor and do not download NBC content.

    After all, NBC is not an oil company … we can stand up to this companies price & greed games!

    Cheers,

    Mark

  5. One thing that I don’t think NBC have got their pretty little heads around is that there are a lot of people who don’t live in the US, and there are two ways of them getting NBC content for us – downloading it illegally or submitting ourselves to watching it around midnight on a relatively obscure TV channel that happens to have bought the rights. Almost everyone that I know that’s a big fan of, say, the US version of The Office downloaded it illegally, but a lot of those people would have been happy enough to have downloaded it from the iTunes store, but it’s looking more and more like they will never be given that opportunity because of NBC’s power games.

    I find it very weird that NBC seem on the one hand to be whinging about piracy, whilst on the other hand only making their content easily available to those who are prepared to pirate. They can’t have it both ways. The iTunes store made The Office what it is, and yet they’re attacking the customers that helped that by cutting off one of their main supplies of obtaining that content legally.

    It’s not like shooting themselves in the foot, it’s like taking a machine gun and firing round after round into their footware – it’s just insane.

  6. Hate to hear what NBC calls TiVo users!

    100% of them are 100% filled with Pirated Content.

    :)

  7. “If there has ever been a more offensive line written about iPod and iPhone owners I’d like to read it.”

    Oh, please! Of course most mp3 players’ content, iPod included, is pirated music. Why, in some countries it is even legal.

  8. @Snafu

    There is no pirated music in my iTunes library. I don’t appreciate being called a thief when I haven’t done anything wrong…and I’m not the only one that finds that comment insulting.

    I make an effort to purchase digital music as opposed to just downloading albums off of Bittorrent, so it really bothers me when executives assume that I’m a thief.

  9. Well, the very Steve Jobs has often done a breakdown of bought titles per iPod owner, pointing out how extremely few downloads per iPod owner happen, actually. Add to that the preeminent position of the device in the Mp3 player market, and the humongous volume of pirated music around. Do the math. That the iPod business rides on piracy is a given, specially so before the iTMS’ existence. That yourself don’t play the game is not the point, and it’s not like the NBC guys have said that ALL iPods’ owners do so, so please stop the oh-I’m-so-offended dance.

    Also, for all this praise on Apple for protecting us from variable pricing, one forgets that it does allow it, in Japan’s iTMS. It supposedly protects us from higher pricing, but then that means we have no access for lower pricing offers, too, or some bundles.

    The sane thing would have been to allow NBC to try things and see what works.

  10. @Snafu

    I don’t agree.

    NBC is wrong. $4.99 an episode (which I’m guess would be the bundled price for a show you want and a lesser show) is unacceptable.

    You seem to be forgetting that CDs can be ripped, and that is completely legal. That fills up iPods just as easily as pirated content. Just because you pirate music, which is the only thing I can assume by your comments, doesn’t mean everyone else does.

    There are some honest people that still exist.

    I’ll be offended if I want to.

    There is nothing “sane” about what NBC is proposing.

  11. First, even Apple hasn’t actually said that NBC wants to price their series’ episodes $4.99: it said what NBC wants would imply that, which is not quite the same thing. Frankly, I don’t trust Apple’s PR that much, even less so any customer defender-posturing born in the middle of some market dominance. One remembers Jobs’ hypocritical anti-DRM posturing some months ago all too well.

    Second: just because you don’t pirate music (and please don’t assume things so easily) doesn’t mean nobody else does.

  12. Take a very close look at this statement: “We never asked to double the wholesale price for our TV shows. In fact, our negotiations were centered on our request for flexibility in wholesale pricing, including the ability to package shows together in ways that could make our content even more attractive for consumers.” That sounds like NBC wanted to sale more than one show at a time, for less than $1.99 an episode, but more than $1.99 total price for multiple episodes. They are trying to sale more with competitive pricing. It’s called GROWTH. AND EVERYONE KNOWS THEY ARE MORE INTERESTED IN GETTING SOMETHING FOR FREE THAN PAY FOR IT!!! (Talk your glutenous maximum off, it’s true! ) How people recklessly spend hundreds on entertainment equipment, but quibble over the few bucks for the content of that entertainment never fails to amaze me. GET YOUR WEIGHT UP!!!!

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