News earlier this week suggested NBC pulled out of iTunes because it wanted to charge more per episode than iTunes felt comfortable. But NBC is now going with Amazon.com for the exact same price ($1.99 an episode) – source WSJ.
So we can only conclude that NBC wanted a bigger cut of the action, got ticked at iTunes, or decided the bigger bet is Amazon.com.
To my knowledge, Amazon hasn’t proved its ability to be a major distribution channel, but maybe NBC has cut a deal that doesn’t preclude it selling its content directly (remember- television folks have this naive sense that they don’t need retail channels to sell their content). Otherwise I’m having trouble understanding how NBC sees itself selling loads of downloadable content via a relatively small player in a yet-unproven distibution model.
Remember folks… this “buy a TV episode” era, in Nalts humble opinion, is short lived.
I believe that people will want their video content in one of three ways:
- Free- supported by ads in whatever format looks good enough (download/stream).
- Paid – in a high-resolution video with a beautiful 4-color box.
Will the networks sell a lot of episodes for $1.99? Sure. It’s a fair price for 26-minutes of good content. I’ve purchased a few episodes of The Office just for fun. But I still save them all on my bloated DVR and buy them on DVD too.
Per episode sales represent a very small chunk of the revenue potential for video distribution, and Amazon is just one unproven player in this amorphous space. NBC- you’re either brilliant or you’re acting like a television network. I can’t decide.
(Note- I haven’t read any speculation on this yet… had to purge before I got into “group think”).