NBC, Apple announce iTunes TV show deal

NBC Universal and Apple on Tuesday announced a deal that brings NBC television content to Apple’s iTunes Music Store. iTunes now offers more than 300 episodes of 16 shows, according to the statement.

Apple said that more than 3 million videos have been purchased and downloaded since the iTunes Music Store began selling them in October. Apple started with content including music videos, television shows from NBC competitor ABC and short subjects created by Pixar Animation Studios, Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ other company.

Apple said that the decision on what shows ultimately end up on iTunes is a combination of what the Networks offer and what Apple would like to offer its customers.

“It’s a combination of the two organizations — it’s very much a collaborative effort,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, told MacCentral. “The more content we have, the more we learn about what listeners want.”

Like those other shows, the NBC programs are available for US$1.99. And like ABC’s content, new NBC shows will be uploaded and available from iTunes the day after they’re broadcast.

The videos can be played back on any Mac or PC running the latest update to iTunes, and can also be downloaded and played back on Apple’s recently released video-capable iPods.

NBC TV content available on iTunes includes Law & Order, The Office, Surface, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Monk, the Sci-Fi Channel’s production of Battlestar Galactica, and classics like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Dragnet, Adam 12 and Knight Rider.

“The way we tried to look at it is if we build a better iPod, we would have a great video hardware solution,” said Cue. “Television is a huge opportunity that wasn’t readily available — 2 months ago nobody could claim 3 million legal video downloads.”

Update: Added information from interview with Apple. 12/6/05 Jim Dalrymple

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