Some Apples take long
to lose luster
At a benefit for Syracuse University in New York yesterday, CEO Jeff Zucker of NBU Universal squashed rumors that parent General Electric would be selling the company after the Beijing Olympics.
"If we don't perform, GE should sell NBCU," Zucker said flatly. "Fact is, we've performed."
General Electric owns the majority stake in NBCU. French firm Vivendi holds 20 percent.
Zucker also said NBCU is experiencing little pleasure from its current relationship with Apple's iTunes.
"We wanted to take one show, it didn't matter which one it was, and experiment and sell it for $2.99," said Zucker. "We made that offer for months and they said no."
According to Variety, NBCU has made a mere $15 million in revenue, despite assertions that its programming comprises over 40 percent of iTunes video sales.
"We don't want to replace the dollars we were making in the analog world with pennies on the digital side," he added.
The complaint underscores growing dissatisfaction between major media networks and iTunes.
In mid-October Universal severed its relationship with iTunes, citing inflexibility of the pricing structure among its grievances.
Shortly thereafter it developed a more pliant music and show-serving relationship with Amazon.
NBCU released its show, clip and film sharing site Hulu yesterday in private beta. It has not said whether it would cut ties with Apple's iTunes, but it may simply be biding time while garnering feedback for the offering.
Hulu avails users to ad-supported programming and films. Unlike the iTunes model, users may not save programs or download them onto iPods or other handheld devices.