NBC has launched a number of new initiatives like NBC Direct where downloads are free. They also have deals with NetFlix and others to distribute their content, often free, rather than the $1.99 charged on iTunes. NBC wanted to experiment with different prices and bundles but iTunes refused.
The problem with NBC Direct Player is that it requires Internet Explorer, a proprietary player, and the latest .Net framework. You can watch the videos 7 days after they are released and they expire 48 hours after you begin watching a movie. You can’t watch them on another computer or on a portable video player like your iPod. A Mac version is planned for next year.
NBC also has ad-supported site Hulu, which is in private beta. There you can get old shows and some current episodes of new shows. It has many of the same restrictions as NBC Direct. Those restrictions are part of the reason why Hulu’s slogan “anywhere, anytime” became a joke.
NBC Universal and it’s affiliates once accounted for around 40 percent of the video content on iTunes. Some content such as ABC, CBS, Fox and Comedy Central are still on iTunes. Apple is busy working to get more movies on iTunes. They announced this week, that they will raise the average selling price of a movie at the iTunes Store. The average wholesale price of a movie will go to $15, not much less than buying a DVD. Stores like Walmart have pressured movie studios not to work with iTunes, as they rely heavily on selling DVDs.