No More NBC Shows on iTunes?

NBC Universal is saying it won’t renew an agreement to sell its television shows on Apple’s iTunes, according to the New York Times.

NBC is iTunes’ No. 1 supplier of digital video to Apple’s online store, with 40 percent of total downloads. The situation has a sad irony to it, in that my favorite NBC show, The Office, was said to be saved from being canceled last year due to its unexpected popularity on iTunes. I’d been planning to download it from iTunes like I had the last two seasons, but I guess I’ll have to make other plans.

Luckily, there are increasing numbers of legal outlets to find full episodes of NBC shows online — including the yet-to-launch project NBC is involved with, now called Hulu. Die-hard fans won’t have to look too hard to find another way. But it’s silly that the content isn’t available where people like to enjoy it.

NBC is reportedly demanding more flexibility in bundling its programming together, and talks with Apple are said to be continuing, so it’s possible the iTunes situation could turn around. The original deal doesn’t expire until December, so at least the 1,500 hours of current offerings (and possibly the new fall episodes?) will be available till then.

NBC’s move follows a similar one in July by Universal Music Group to drop its long-term arrangement to sell music on Apple’s terms.