NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker on Sunday urged colleagues to take a stand against Apple’s iTunes, charging that the digital download service was undermining the ability of traditional media companies to set profitable rates for their content online.
We know that Apple has destroyed the music business — in terms of pricing — and if we don’t take control, they’ll do the same thing on the video side,” Zucker said at a breakfast hosted by Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Communications.
He said NBC routinely propositioned Apple to breach its standard pricing model and experiment with higher pricing for one hit show such as “Heroes” by raising the price from the iTunes standard $1.99 to $2.99 on a trial basis.
“We wanted to take one show, it didn’t matter which one it was, and experiment and sell it for $2.99,” he said. “We made that offer for months and they said no.”
The NBC chief also revealed that in addition to more pricing flexibility, his firm was also seeking a cut of Apple hardware sales — such as the iPod and iPhone — which were capable of viewing content downloaded from the iTunes Store.
“Apple sold millions of dollars worth of hardware off the back of our content and made a lot of money,” he said. “They did not want to share in what they were making off the hardware or allow us to adjust pricing.”
Zucker’s comments also arrive just as NBC and NewsCorp. are launching their joint online video venture, Hulu.com, which aims to compete with iTunes by offering streaming TV and other commercial video content to viewers under an ad-supported model.
Read “ruined the music business” as “actually giving the consumer what they want instead of relying on greed and laziness to fill my coffers with regrets.”
Also, I checked out the “hulu” service he talked about, and it claimed that the content wasn’t available in “my region”, which is odd, since there are plenty of other sites that tell me otherwise. The only places that don’t allow me to view NBC content is the services ran by NBC…