What's the Deal with Zucker?

I read some quotes by Jeffrey Zucker, the president and CEO of NBC, regarding their deal to sell TV shows on iTunes and frankly I was just absolutely floored. Is this guy for real? How does someone with his level of short-sightedness rise to such a high position? Two of the things Zucker said, I think, are quite indicative of insanity.

First, Zucker indicated that he was upset that Apple wasn’t sharing the revenues from hardware sales – hardware that people would use to watch shows purchased from the iTunes Music Store. This seems like lunacy to me. Panasonic didn’t have to give some of the money I paid for my TV to NBC (or any other network, for that matter). Sony didn’t have to pay money to any studio when I bought my DVD player. And TiVo doesn’t have to give any of my money to the networks when I record shows and watch them later (skipping through all the commercials). Jeff. What are you smoking?

Second, Zucker said that NBC only made $15 million during the last year of their deal with Apple. Only fifteen MILLION dollars. Zucker followed up saying that he didn’t want to replace “dollars” in the analog world with “pennies” in the digital world. I think he’s just nuts. There WAS no paying digital world to speak of before Apple came along and did what they did with the iTunes Music Store. And it doesn’t even matter that it was Apple that did it. Microsoft could have done it, some third party could have done it – it just doesn’t matter. I would like to point out that this is NEW revenue. There was simply no way for a truly “average Joe” to legally buy an episode of a television show, download it, and watch it on their computer, phone, iPod, or TV. And poor NBC *only* made $15 million from this. On TOP of what they normally make for their shows to air them on broadcast, cable, and satellite.

Zucker: You need to wake up, man. You are shooting yourself in the foot. Actually, with digital distribution going the direction it is, you’re shooting yourself in the chest.

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