September 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

NBC Universal and iTunes ink a new content deal

After a year’s absence, Apple’s iTunes is back to offering downloads for purchase from NBC Universal, which in September 2007 would not renew its contract because of pricing issues.

After a year’s absence, Apple Inc., No. 7 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is back to offering downloads for purchase from NBC Universal, which in September 2007 would not renew its contract because of pricing issues.

Under the new arrangement, iTunes customers can purchase a season pass which gives them an entire season of programming at a discounted price. In addition, NBC Universal is offering one free episode from each of its top series on the iTunes Store for the next two weeks. The premiere episodes of upcoming NBC shows such as “Knight Rider,” “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Kath & Kim” will be available on iTunes a week before their broadcast premieres later in September and October, with subsequent episodes available the day after broadcast.

NBC also is making episodes of several vintage television shows available on iTunes for 99 cents, including “The A-Team,” “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” “Miami Vice,” “Kojak” and the original “Battlestar Galactica.”

Apple iTunes’ customers will be able to choose programming from NBC, USA Network, SCI FI Channel, Bravo, Sleuth and NBC News. The standard definition television shows on the iTunes Store are $1.99 per episode and high definition programs are available for $2.99 per episode. Additional NBC Universal programming from Oxygen, Telemundo, Mun2 and NBC Sports also will be available on iTunes.

Before pulling the plug a year earlier, NBC Universal supplied iTunes three of its 10 best-selling TV shows, accounting for 30% of iTunes TV show sales, Apple says. The new pricing structure is a big reason NBC is returning to iTunes and Apple. “By offering consumers a variety of new options, our fans have even more ways to enjoy our content,” says NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker.

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