It takes a short guy to admit a big mistake. Or a big ego to declare a small victory. But the fact is that Jeff Zucker went off on Steve Jobs and severed NBC Universal’s relationship with iTunes a year ago. NBC Universal had been iTunes’s No. 1 seller even if Zucker boasted back then that NBC wasn’t getting all that much dough from the deal. But Zucker’s backing out of renewing its contract with Apple over disputes on pricing, bundling content together, and more restrictive DRM was still a pinhead move. Not only did NBC execs admit that The Office got a big awareness boost when because of iTunes, but they missed not having iTunes as another marketing platform to promote the 2007-2008 fall season which ended up dying. And then Zucker added insult to injury by claiming Apple and iTunes had “destroyed the music business” in terms of pricing and that video was next unless “we take control”. Back in January, there were hints of a rapprochement after Universal inked a movie rental deal with iTunes and Zucker did a 180. “We’ve said all along that we admire Apple, that we want to be in business with Apple,” Zucker told the press. “We’re great fans of Steve Jobs.” Jobs praised NBC Uni, too. Now all is forgiven and NBC is back on iTunes with its lineup of TV shows. Jobs announced today that The Office, Heroes, Monk, Battlestar Galactica, 30 Rock, etc. will all be sold. HD versions will run $2.99 while SD versions will go for $1.99 andother stuff for $.99. Even so, Zucker couldn’t leave well enough alone. He had to go on his lapdog CNBC and claim victory for getting variable pricing while at the same time admitting that the shows must be available on as many platforms as possible. (“Short term pain for long term gain,” his mouthpiece kept repeating to me just now.) How this will cannibalize NBC’s much hyped Hulu is anybody’s guess. What’s next — SNL clips back on YouTube?
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.