Updated: NBC Universal’s (NYSE: GE) return to the U.S. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iTunes store will be was announced at the Steve Jobs show just getting under way in San Franciscio, paidContent has learned. NBCU gets its variable pricing with rates ranging from $0.99 for deep library to $1.99 for new shows and $2.99 for HD shows. NBCU plans to provide 25 series in HD to start and will also sell compilations that can be variably priced. Sales start this afternoon. This deal falls in to the classic win-win column: Apple gets a source of popular content for iTunes and NBCU stands a chance of increasing its take, especially with HD shows at a wholesale price around $2.
More after the jump…
A year ago, NBCU served Apple with notice that it was exercising the opt-out in its contract after the two disagreed on pricing — NBCU wanted variable pricing, Apple claims NBCU wanted a major wholesale price hike. NBCU kept delivering shows from that contract until early December. At the time, NBCU accused Apple of pricing shows to sell its own devices “at the expense of those who create the content that make these devices worth buying.” NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker said the company made $15 million from iTunes, where it usually had shows in the top 10 and represented roughly 40 percent of iTunes sales.
Despite the continuing exchange of sharp words, NBCU insisted it was still negotiating with Apple. At the same time, NBCU, which was already on Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), joined a variety of other download services and started its own, flawed NBC Direct service for ad-supported downloads.