Apple drops NBC from iTunes


Published: Saturday, September 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 31, 2007 at 11:13 p.m.

NEW YORK - Apple Inc. escalated a dispute with NBC Universal over the pricing of television shows by announcing Friday it would not sell any of NBC's programs for this fall season on iTunes.

Earlier, NBC had told Apple that it would no longer allow its programs to be sold via iTunes at the end of the year. NBC Universal-controlled television programming accounts for an estimated 40 percent of the video downloads on iTunes.

"We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "We hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers."

Rather than cut off NBC programs in the middle of the season, Apple decided to stop before new fall episodes premiere next month, he said.

That would be a blow to fourth-place NBC, which could use the buzz provided by Internet sales for its programming - not to mention the money. But NBC insisted that Apple is contractually obligated to offer new episodes of returning programming, shows like "Heroes" and "The Office," through the end of December. Apple could only refuse to sell new series like "The Bionic Woman."

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