NBC Universal has reached a deal for online retailer Amazon.com Inc to sell television show downloads, it said on Tuesday, just days after the media company pulled the plug on a contract with Apple Inc'siTunes.
Amazon will sell NBC shows such as The Office, Heroes and 30 Rock through its Unbox digital video download service, the companies said in a statement. Individual episodes will cost $1.99 on Amazon, the same as they had on iTunes.
NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co., announced on Friday that it would not renew its contract with iTunes, becoming the second major media company, along with Vivendi's Universal Music Group, to challenge Apple's dominance in digital entertainment.
Apple last week said NBC Universal had sought to more than double the wholesale rate for each show, which Apple said would have forced its iTunes online store to raise its price to $4.99 per TV show episode from $1.99.
NBC Universal, which had been the No. 1 supplier of digital video to iTunes, disputed Apple's claim and said its focus was on more flexibility and the ability to package shows together.
NBC and Amazon said they would offer a variety of packages for the shows, including a discount of up to 30 percent when customers buy a full season's worth of shows.
New shows will be available the day after they air on television, the companies said.
We're excited to be working with a partner that understands the wholesale and retail relationship and will work with us on creative packaging of content, said Jean-Briac Perrette, president, NBC Universal Digital Distribution.
Earlier this summer, Vivendi's Universal Music Group declined to sign a long-term deal with Apple's iTunes, leaving open the possibility for exclusive deals with other services, a source told Reuters in July.
Vivendi also owns a minority stake in NBC Universal.
(Reporting by Robert MacMillan, New York and Sue Zeidler, Los Angeles)