At the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco this week George Kliavkoff, Chief Digital Officer at NBC Universal, discussed their interest in returning to digital distribution via 3rd parties. They didn’t name any names, but it seems clear that they were talking about Apple because they already distribute digitally and via third parties, but iTunes seems to have gained a lot of momentum.
We know that initially Apple and NBC broke off their relationship over pricing issues, but apparently that’s not the only thing that could be impeding NBC’s return to iTunes.Here is what Kliavkoff had to say:
"One of the big issues for NBC is piracy. We are financially harmed every day by piracy. It results in us not being able to invest as much money in the next generation of film and TV products."
Apple already takes a fairly strong stance on piracy with their use of various DRM technologies, but it could very well be that NBC would like Apple to check files being added to the iTunes library more thoroughly. Technologies certainly exist that allow various media types to be compared to master libraries of copyrighted material, YouTube uses such a technology on a massive scale to prevent piracy. Whether or not a desktop variant is feasible at this time is certainly open to debate.