Friday, August 31, 2007

NBC Pulling Shows From iTunes

First they argue about if they can have some pie, now over the slice size...


NBC Universal has told Apple Inc. that it would not allow its television content to be sold on iTunes following a dispute over pricing.

NBC Universal-controlled television programming accounts for an estimated 40 percent of the video downloads on iTunes.

The company's contract to sell more than 1,500 hours of news, sports and entertainment programming on iTunes expires at the end of December. NBC was required to inform Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) by Friday if the contract would not renewed, said Amy Zelvin, spokeswoman for NBC Universal Digital.

Apple was not immediately available for comment Friday.

The companies are expected to continue negotiations. But NBC Universal's hardball tactics, reported Friday in The New York Times, illustrates unrest among content providers concerning Apple's pricing policies.

iTunes offers songs for download at 99 cents and video for $1.99. Media companies want more say in pricing and, in NBC Universal's case, is anxious to offer different packages by bundling programs together at different prices.

Availability of Web-popular programs like USA's "Psych," NBC's "30 Rock" and Sci Fi's "Battlestar Gallactica" would all be affected.

NBC Universal also wants iTunes to stiffen anti-piracy provisions so computer users would not have easy access to illegal downloads.