Ron Moore Confirms the Obvious: NBC Decision to Pull from iTunes Sucks

There is an extended interview with Ron Moore, writer/creator of the new Battlestar Galactica, on Wired.  Definitely worth reading.

One fun snippet:

Wired: You mentioned TiVo. Do you think you benefited from DVD box sets, TiVo timeshifting, the ability for people to go watch all of season one?

Moore: Absolutely. It’s a totally different world, and it plays to our audience. The fans of this genre traditionally lead all these technologies. The early adopters, the people who are very facile with computers and tech, and they will find the show in all these different formats. It absolutely has helped us.

Wired: Even being able to tell the non-fans, look, just go get the box set?

Moore: It’s great. That phenomenon has definitely occurred, too, where people who would not sample the show, who wouldn’t tune into something on Sci Fi Channel, much less called Battlestar Galactica, people would then press on them a DVD. They became fans. That happened a lot. People just put it on their iTunes. I bemoan the loss of NBC Universals relationship with iTunes for this show.

NBC’s decision to basically thumb their nose at their customers, their fans, around a theoretical strategic positioning on digital delivery is doomed to failure.  Not sure if the current management at NBC will get it, or whether they’ll have to be replaced (ala Disney/Pixar) to heal this one.  They have forgotten that the alternative to Apple’s rich ecosystem is widespread, DRM-free piracy.

They’ll figure it out soon enough.

2 thoughts on “Ron Moore Confirms the Obvious: NBC Decision to Pull from iTunes Sucks

  1. I agree wholeheartedly that it’s unfortunate NBC dropped its relationship with Apple (although I understand and partially agree with their reasoning).

    But you make it sound like they’re the only game in town? What about Amazon Unbox, which not only lets you buy episodes online, but lets you download them directly to your existing TiVo box (rather than charging $250 for a stand-along set-top box, like Apple TV). What about Hulu?

    Sure, they lost the most popular source of online downloads. But they’re far from having piracy as the only alternative to iTunes.

  2. I have no problem with NBC experimenting with any and all available means of distribution, although I think the evidence from music makes it pretty clear that streaming based solutions will not meet the consumer innate desire to “own” content. (BTW downloading to a Tivo box vs. AppleTV is not a good example of a difference – the Tivo box costs money, plus a monthly fee!).

    The point is NBC has millions of fans who, voting with their pocketbooks, said that they wanted to buy shows on iTunes. Instead of meeting that need, and rewarding that loyalty, they basically gave them the finger and said it was Apple’s fault for inflexibility on pricing. Bad business.

    The reality is, in the consumer market, distribution is king, and Apple has the distribution mechanism that people keep voting for with billions of dollars. The closer we get to higher broadband speeds across the US, the closer we get to massive, unprotected video piracy similar to the music piracy boom in the late 1990s.

    They are trying to win by making existing channels worse (withholding content) instead of making other channels better. That works against their customers, and in the end, it will work against NBC.


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