New installments of House will no longer be available on iTunes as a result of the ongoing feud between the Apple company and NBC, which indirectly produces the show through its subsidiary, Universal Media Studios.

House returned with its fourth season last September 25 to impressive ratings, which remain the best for any returning show thus far into the fall 2007 season.  The Hugh Laurie-led medical series premiered to 18.1 million viewers for a resounding 7.7 rating/19 share in the 18-49 adult demographic during the 9pm to 10 pm time bracket.

House has been available for download on iTunes since May but come December, when NBC’s contract with iTunes expires, shows like House, that are in one way or another related to the network will no longer be accessible to iTunes subscribers.  Although House actually airs on FOX, it will suffer a similar fate as those broadcast over NBC because it is produced by Universal Media Studios which is part of the NBC family.

In late August, NBC Universal announced the creation of its own online video facility to rival reigning online content haven, You Tube.  Hulu, as the new online video host is called, is a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp.  Two days after unveiling Hulu, NBC Universal confirmed that it was ending its arrangement with iTunes at the close of their existing term this December.

For its part, Apple claimed in a statement that NBC was asking for more than twice as much the wholesale price of each episode of their programs on iTunes, which would have jacked up the retail tag to $4.99 from iTunes’ standard $1.99.  In the same statement, Apple also announced that they will not carry any of NBC’s Fall shows in the iTunes store because it would only have to stop selling them halfway through the season once the contract ends.

It remains uncertain how the pulling of shows such as House off the iTunes menu will affect the dominant online video merchant in the long run, but even before iTunes offered House to its patrons, fans took it upon themselves to petition the outfit to bring the show on board their list selections.  Once they did, it quickly became one of the popular buys on the Apple media store.

-Rosario Santiago, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

Source: Broadcasting & Cable
(Image Courtesy of Macworld)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV