Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:
As most Americans were getting ready for a peaceful Labor Day, it was war between Apple and NBC as the two companies couldn't agree to terms for carrying the network's shows on iTunes. A punchy media had a field day with the headlines -- Apple "Scrubs" iTunes Contract, NBC, iTunes Headed to Divorce Court, and Apple Peels Back NBC-iTunes Deal were just a few of the laf riots.
Apple said that it moved to act in the interest of consumers, but the financial impact for both companies is practically nil. Engadget's sister blog TV Squad posted that it wasn't about the money for NBC, but about the flexibility to bundle programming.
We are very early in the era of downloaded video. As long as this continues to be an opportunistic purchase, e.g., "I missed that episode last night," the market could probably bear more than $1.99. Where it breaks down is looking at buying TV shows as an alternative to DVD or subscribing to cable or another TV service provider (even though the big NBC hits are all on broadcast television). The comparison between getting shows via iTunes versus, say, a DVR is something that Switched On has addressed previously, and another Engadget column even ran the numbers.