Saturday, September 1, 2007

NBC and Apple Split: Much Ado About Nothing

Much hand wringing, phosphor, and ink over the news that NBC shows won't be for sale any more on iTunes. According to Apple, that's because it didn't want to go along with an NBC price hike that would have raised the per-episode download price to consumers from $1.99 to $4.99...

But, you know what? They're both wrong. NBC's wrong, sure, for wanting to get more money for its downloaded shows, but iTunes and NBC were both wrong, in the first place, for even the $1.95 charge.

Most people already know that that you can see episodes of most major shows for free, on the NBC or whatever network's web site - not to mention bittorent and all the rest.

The world of television consumption is changing, almost by the minute, and it's going in the direction of people watching whatever they want, when they want, and not paying for it. Actually, there's probably a shorter distance between this and traditional free television in your living room than download and pay.

NBC and Apple are usually ahead of the pack in understanding this. Maybe NBC does understand this, and wants to drive more viewers to its own site.

But whatever the reasoning, it's a safe bet that corporate, profit-per-item mentality is a stubborn old bird, and doesn't die easily, even in the digital age.

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