NBC to Apple: We never wanted to sell episodes for $4.99
At issue is Apple's pricing scheme. But while Apple had said that NBC wanted to change the wholesale pricing of TV shows so that individual episodes could cost as much as $4.99, NBC disputes that figure.
Apple currently sells shows for a flat rate of $1.99 per episode. Since most American television shows run for 20 to 24 episodes per season, that means you can pick up a whole season for about $40 to $48, or about what you'd expect to pay for a DVD box set. So the pricing seems fair to us.
But NBC says it didn't want to raise prices. Rather, the network wanted to be able to offer special promotions that would bring the prices down, for example by bundling TV episodes with other special content like movies starring the same actors. Like The Office? Why not buy Evan Almighty and get a "free episode?"
Of course, this is sort of like the fact that my cable company keeps trying to get me to "save money" by signing up for additional services. Sure my price for each individual service, like cable, internet, and phone would be lower but somehow at the end of the month my cable bill would still be higher.
In other news, as things stand right now, all of NBC's existing shows on iTunes will be available through December. So you'll be able to continue downloading The Office, Battlestar Galactica, and Heroes until mid-season. New shows like Chuck and The Bionic Woman will not be offered at all.