Apple Balks at $5-Per-Show Demand, Gives NBC the Boot From iTunes

We reported earlier that NBC had decided not to renew its contract with Apple to sell their shows online. We thought that they might do something similar to Universal and do a short-term contract to keep their content up. No dice. Apparently, NBC wanted Apple to start charging a whopping $4.99 per episode for their shows, causing Apple to give them an early booting from iTunes. Look, 30 Rock is hilarious and everything, but if you think a season of it in DRM'd digital form at a mediocre resolution is worth $100 you've got another thing coming.

Apple is giving NBC the boot starting with the TV season that's about to start, not even waiting until the official end of the contract in December, as they don't want to pull the plug mid-season. It's pretty lousy news for Apple as well, as NBC shows accounted for 30% of TV show sales last year. NBC may be planning to sell their shows on their new video site, Hulu.com, but if they plan on charging $5 an episode it's safe to say we all know where else we can go to download NBC's shows. And we'll be paying considerably less than $5 an episode there.

Here's Apple's full press release on the subject.

iTunes Store to Stop Selling NBC Television Shows

CUPERTINO, Calif., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple(R) today announced that it will not be selling NBC television shows for the upcoming television season on its online iTunes(R) Store (http://www.itunes.com). The move follows NBC's decision to not renew its agreement with iTunes after Apple declined to pay more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode, which would have resulted in the retail price to consumers increasing to $4.99 per episode from the current $1.99. ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks, are signed up to sell TV shows from their upcoming season on iTunes at $1.99 per episode.

"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."

Apple's agreement with NBC ends in December. Since NBC would withdraw their shows in the middle of the television season, Apple has decided to not offer NBC TV shows for the upcoming television season beginning in September.

NBC supplied iTunes with three of its 10 best selling TV shows last season, accounting for 30 percent of iTunes TV show sales.