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NBC Universal fare exits iTunes

Pricepoint cause for network's frustration

NBC Universal has pulled the plug on iTunes.

As expected, the company will no longer be selling its TV shows on the Apple service after its contract with the company expired this weekend.

Decision became public in October, after NBC U expressed frustrations with Apple’s unwillingness to charge more than $2.99 per episode for downloads. It currently charges $1.99.

NBC U said that pricepoint resulted in only $15 million in profit last year from iTunes, according to prexy and CEO Jeff Zucker.

“We had 40% of the market share on the video side of iTunes, we were most popular,” Zucker said at a keynote Monday at the UBS Global Media Conference in New York. “It wasn’t the game changer for us that it was for Apple. We would like to be part of it. But nowhere does the reseller set the wholesale price. We wanted price flexibility and greater protection against piracy. Over time, we hope to work all that out.”

NBC U had offered up series like “Heroes,” “The Office” and “Battlestar Galactica.” But shows that aren’t produced by NBC, like “Chuck,” “Scrubs,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Journeyman” and “Days of Our Lives,” that air on the network, will still be sold on iTunes.

There have been no talks to broker a new agreement between NBC U and iTunes, and none are likely to occur now that NBC’s shows are offered elsewhere online via Amazon’s Unbox, Netflix, Hulu, MySpace, Yahoo, AOL and MSN, as well as NBC U’s own websites and services like NBC Direct.

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