Steve Jobs: NBC Universal returning to iTunes

Apple CEO announces the feud is over, but did NBC Universal finally get the financial terms it wanted?

SAN FRANCISCO--The feud between Apple and NBC Universal has ended.

A little more than a year after it was revealed that the media company would pull out of iTunes, shows like Heroes and The Office will return to the digital store, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced Tuesday at an Apple press event here .

iTunes 8
Apple unveiled iTunes 8 at Apple's press event on Tuesday. James Martin/CNET Networks

In August 2007, The New York Times reported that NBC Universal was unhappy with the financial terms Apple offered and had decided not to renew its contract to download shows through iTunes.

At Tuesday's event , Jobs did not provide details on what led to the truce. Who cried uncle is still unclear.

James McQuivey, a prominent media analyst with Forrester Research, suspects Apple likely offered some concessions to lure NBC back.

"NBC can't have been overwhelmed by the success of the iTunes video store," McQuivey said. "I assume Apple had to give on something. Maybe they threw some sweetener in on the movie side, since Universal is interested there as well."

Jobs said that NBC Universal shows, as well as those from other content providers, will now be available in high definition for $2.99. That's a buck more than the $1.99 price Apple asks for standard-definition downloads of TV shows.

McQuivey applauded Apple's offering of HD shows.

"TV shows in HD," said McQuivey, "doesn't drive new sales of devices for Apple, but it does increase the chance that existing device owners will buy or rent video on iTunes. Since the iTunes video store needs some growth, it makes sense for Apple to focus here."

Apple also announced that iTunes customers can buy a "Season Pass" which enables viewers to buy a season's worth of programming at a discount. And for the next two weeks, NBC Universal is giving away one free episode from each of the company's top series, available in either SD or HD.

Click here for full coverage of Apple's "Let's Rock" event.

 

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