The ad:tech conference is currently going on at the Moscone Center in San Francisco and one of the most interesting things to come out of it came from the mouth of NBC’s Chief Digital Officer George Kliavkoff. In a nutshell, he said he wanted Apple to build a piracy detecting iTunes and to offer flexible pricing before NBC would allow their content to return to iTunes. Here’s what he said:
If you look at studies about MP3 players, especially leading MP3 players and what portion of that content is pirated, and think about how that content gets onto that device, it has to go through a gate-keeping piece of software, which would be a convenient place to put some anti-piracy measures.
When he says “leading MP3 players” of course he’s thinking Apple’s iPod devices and when he mentioned a gate-keeping piece of software, he was obviously thinking of iTunes. Kliavkoff went on to talk about how piracy really hurts NBC and that they’re not able to invest as much as they’d like into the next generation of film and TV products. So would Apple ever take such drastic measures and incorporate anti-piracy technology into iTunes? We’re doubtful.
Pricing of the shows came up as well and Kliavkoff went on to talk about how they’d love to be on iTunes but he says “It’s really difficult for us to work with any distribution partner who says ‘Here’s the wholesale price and the retail price,’ especially when the price doesn’t reflect the full value of the product.” Apple will not budge on pricing and they would be stupid if they tried to incorporate anti-piracy technology, so it looks like we won’t be seeing NBC shows on iTunes any time soon.