Apple has killed the music industry with its inflexible approach to iTunes prices and must be prevented from doing the same thing to the film industry, according to one movie mogul.
NBC Universal chief executive Jeff Zucker on Sunday urged the rest of the industry to join his studio's new Hulu film download service, the latest in the continuing battle between Universal and Apple for control of the legitimate download distribution market.
Zucker's comments - which cast Apple as the enemy - conveniently ignore that the biggest threat to all parties involved in legitimate commerce in media online comes from file-sharing, which dwarfs the legal market.
"We know that Apple has destroyed the music business - in terms of pricing - and if we don’t take control, they’ll do the same thing on the video side," Zucker said at a breakfast hosted by Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Communications, as reported by Variety.
Zucker claimed NBC Universal had "only" earned $15 million from sales through iTunes last year, despite accounting for 40 per cent of the video sold on the site. He approached Apple to ask for flexible pricing on film and TV downloads, but was refused.
Zucker also revealed his company had asked for a cut of iPod sales - though the company receives no dividend from sales of record or CD players.
"Apple sold millions of dollars worth of hardware off the back of our content and made a lot of money," he said. "They did not want to share in what they were making off the hardware or allow us to adjust pricing."
"We are at an inflection point. We don't want to replace dollars with pennies on the digital side," he said.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, however, has always consistently argued for fixed prices simply because the competition to easy-to-use services such as iTunes is not other such services, but peer-to-peer file-sharing, the torrents sites, and the dark web of media sharing.