NBC Universal has decided not to offer their programming through iTunes anymore — meaning that shows like The Office and Battlestar Galactica will no longer be available for download.
Apple’s press release makes it clear what motivated the decision:
“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.”
Basically, NBC wanted to more than double the price of its shows from $1.99/episode to $4.99/episode.
This is an incredibly, incredibly stupid move on the part of NBC Universal. For one, they’ve just alienated the millions of people who use iTunes. They’ve just suffered a PR disaster, and now they’re shutting themselves out of the biggest market for legal TV downloads. No doubt that they’ll come back with their own online store that sells episodes at their cost, with irritating DRM that is incompatible with the most widely-used video devices on the planet (the iPod and iPhone), and that store will end up costing them millions to set up only to fail in short order.
I’ve bought NBC shows from iTunes, and I won’t pay double the price for the same thing, and I won’t buy episodes that won’t play on my Mac or iPhone. I suspect most people won’t do those things either.
NBC just shot itself in the foot with this one, and if they were smart, they’d be cutting a deal to get back on iTunes ASAP.