NBC moves video download operations to Amazon

Posted by Mark Raby

Burbank (CA) - After refusing to renew its contract with Apple, NBC Universal plans to migrate most of its digital video offerings from iTunes over to Amazon Unbox.

NBC spoke about the decision late yesterday, saying that Amazon offered greater pricing flexibility, something the Apple does not offer in its agreements with content partners.

"Amazon is a company that understands the value we provide as content owners to its business," said NBC Digital Distribution chief Jean-Briac Perrette.

NBC will offer numerous TV shows on Amazon's Unbox service, reports the New York Times, including Heroes, The Office and 30 Rock.

Apple has long held the policy that it will not change prices for content.  It has a single pricing policy and payment distribution for every content partner.  NBC Universal said it did not want to continue with the agreement and effectively pulled all of its content away from iTunes.  The media conglomerate accounted for nearly half of all iTunes video downloads.

Though Amazon does not have a direct-to-portable-device distribution service like iTunes does with the iPod, it does offer video downloads directly from and to TiVo.  TiVo owners can purchase Amazon Unbox content through a broadband Internet connection and watch them on their TV immediately.

TV show pricing on Amazon Unbox is also still in flux.  Most episodes are currently selling for around $2, the same price iTunes charges.  Amazon has shown more room for flexibility, with discounts for full-season downloads and the ability to rent feature films at a highly discounted rate over purchasing a lifetime copy.