December 6, 2005 1:46 PM PST

Commentary: iTunes gets more TV

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NBC teams up with iTunes

December 6, 2005
By Josh Bernoff, vice president

Apple Computer announced on Tuesday that it has reached 3 million video downloads on iTunes and will be adding a bunch of NBC Universal shows, including "Law & Order," "Surface," "The Office" and "Battlestar Galactica." Not mention Conan O'Brien and Jay Leno.

As we said before the CBS-Comcast video-on-demand deal in November, the rest of TV is going to come flooding into iTunes and also into alternative distribution including cable video on-demand.

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NBC teams up with iTunes
Deal includes downloads of a wide range of programming--11 shows in all--for $1.99 per episode.

Take a close look and you'll see that the popular shows getting into iTunes are produced and broadcast by the same company. That's why "The West Wing" isn't in there--it's produced by Warner and broadcast by NBC.

I'm reminded of what happened at the beginning of the online music business, when the labels told me that the contracts were difficult to track down and that it would take a long time for all the artists to accept getting their music distributed online. Then iTunes became a hit and the money started flowing. And somehow, all those contractual questions got washed away. Hmm....

If iTunes actually makes some money (and 3 million video downloads means $6 million to divvy up already) you'll see the contractual issues get resolved in video, too. All Warner and NBC need to do is figure out how to divide up the dollars. And once a few of these deals get done, the precedent will be set, the rest will follow, and the floodgates will open.

The lesson here for other forms of distribution--cable video-on-demand, streaming, mobile phones--is this: Start with some popular content and prove the business model. Once the money starts flowing, the rest of the content will follow.

3 comments

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Apple has done it again!
Apple revolutionized the digital music business way back when,
and now they've done it again. They always amaze me with new
products and design, it's hard to believe a company actually
cares about you and how you use products. One of their keys to
success is how they make all of their products easy to use, and
easy on the eye. And now what they've done with video
distribution is going to have the rest of the industry play catch
up, again. Apple has been the first company to make video-on-
demand services available to the masses, with quality content.
Right now, they have content from 2 major providers, and will
probably grow to include even five to ten. All they need is CBS
and the Food Network and I'll be happier than i already am.
Posted by macsandip0ds (1 comment )
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Headline not quite correct!
The headline should actually read "iTunes U.S. gets more TV", since TV downloads are not available through the 'Canadian' iTunes Music Store! So, Canadians who miss an episode of "LOST", really are when they tune in to the show the following week! Anyone able to provide an answer as to why?
Posted by pcordick (1 comment )
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go apple!
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Posted by 208774626618253979477959487856 (176 comments )
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