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National Football LeagueWord comes today from MarketWatch that the most National of Leagues of Football is seeking to renegotiate their online licensing deal (currently with CBS Corporation’s SportsLine and Time Warner’s AOL) which expires in May. While no decision has been made yet regarding who would be a potential suitor, Apple’s name is being dropped alongside Microsoft, Sony, Google, Yahoo! and most likely CBS and AOL who, I imagine, would be interested in re-upping that contract.

The bad news for Apple here is that unlike many of their other arrangements, this isn’t a “let’s work together and all make money” kind of situation, but rather more of a “pay us a whole bunch of money for the rights to sell our content,” something that would likely be a radical change of direction for Apple. And we’re talking about all sorts of money involved, too. Sprint Nextel paid $600 million over five years for rights to highlights, statistics and programming from the NFL Network. So, while it’s certainly intriguing to think of the possibilities, I think Apple is kind of a dark horse in this race.

(Thanks, iLounge)

South ParkNo sooner after I mention South Park simply in passing, do I get the heads-up from alert reader (and Tunevision regular) Ruben about forthcoming episodes of South Park. I direct you to this message board thread at South Park Studios’ web site dated this past Sunday. It states that season three will be available in iTunes “very soon — possibly in the next few days.” It also goes on to say that “episodes of season 10 [Ed. The current season] should also be available on iTunes within a week of their airing on Comedy Central.”

So there you have it. I ask and I receive, apparently. Thanks for the heads up!

Walt DisneyMore good news about the iTunes Music Store comes from the House of Mouse this time. TV Week is reporting that at the TelecomNext show in Las Vegas, Disney CEO Bob Iger told attendees that since they began selling content in the iTMS almost six months ago, they have sold over four million videos. Iger also said, “Technology has transformed authority from the distributor and creator to the consumer. Today’s consumer is more tech-savvy and governs how and when and at what price content is sent to them.”

(Thanks, MacMinute)

2006 Final FourMore good news rolling in. iLounge is reporting (via an Apple press release) that this year’s NCAA men’s college basketball tournament will be available for purchase from iTunes. The games from the first four rounds (up to and including the Elite 8) will be made available in “condensed versions” available for purchase for $1.99 or the whole lot of them can be purchased as a “Season Pass” (different from the “Multi-Pass” announced for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report last week) for $19.99. Going into the Final Four and the Championship game, full versions of the games will be made available for purchase. There will also be compilations of “buzzer beaters, upsets and memorable championship games from past NCAA Tournaments” available for purchase…whatever that means. So, if years of watching SportsCenter hasn’t yet sucked out all your elation of watching Jimmy V. running out on the court looking for someone to hug, then you’ll able to purchase it and watch it until you are no longer elated.

The NCAA tournament’s first game is tonight—the 16 seed play-in game between Hampton and Monmouth to determine who will earn the privilege of being drubbed by Villanova in the first round. The first round will begin in earnest on Thursday and Friday.

Overall, this is a great content addition to iTunes. If CBS Sports does a good job of promoting it during the games, it could be very popular, especially as we move towards the final rounds. It’s also good news on the possibility of CBS eventually bringing other content into iTunes. CBS Corporation is already involved somewhat through Showtime. Hopefully, CBS may soon be bringing over some of their regular programming as well.

HBO PodcastsGood News: HBO is offering some content in iTunes.

Bad News: In podcast form.

I’ll level with you. When I first saw this MacWorld UK article, I was pretty darn happy. I seriously thought that HBO was finally going to get some of their extremely-popular shows into iTunes. I was hoping to rush right into iTunes and get the season premiere of The Sopranos.

Then I read that they’re actually only adding some behind-the-scenes podcasts and other related paraphernalia. Color me, and a great deal of the internet, disappointed.

Okay, okay. Let’s try and look at the bright side. Clearly HBO is considering iTunes. They’re not quite as technophobic as FOX is—they’re taking baby steps into iTunes. This isn’t unprecedented: VH1 and G4 are doing the same thing. Hopefully, this is just HBO testing the waters on their way to getting The Sopranos, Rome and Curb Your Enthusiasm into iTunes.

However, my personal feelings aside, HBO feels that they have to protect their market. When you’re in the business of convincing people to pay an extra $10-$15 per month for your programming in its entirety, allowing people to pay just $2 per show could conceivably eat into that market. The other side of it is, of course, that while there may be some losses from people dropping the premium portion of their cable, they would easily make up for it from people like me who don’t even have cable and would like a legal outlet to get the latest episode of The Sopranos, short of waiting half a year for DVDs (on top of the year and a half we’ve already had to wait).

Either way, hopefully this is a good signal (albeit a weak one) that HBO is at least thinking about this avenue. Showtime is already convinced. Hopefully, HBO can take the plunge soon.

(Thanks, digg)

Variety is reporting that NBC Universal and Disney are close to a deal to put the NBC comedy series Scrubs for sale in iTunes. How is Disney involved? Well, Scrubs is produced by Touchstone Television, a Disney company. The deal, which is said to be the first deal of its kind between any two conglomerates like this, is said to split the profits of the season 5 (the current one) 50-50 between the two companies through August 31 when the rights would fully revert back to Touchstone. Touchstone would also receive all of the profits from sales of previous seasons.

Variety goes on to say that one of the reasons this particular series is even able to be considered for iTunes is that Scrubs is already in syndication and, thus, selling the show in iTunes isn’t considered a threat to the overall long-term profitability of the show. They also go on to say that while no one knows for sure what other series are being negotiated in this fashion, industry insiders consider My Name Is Earl (broadcast on NBC, produced by 20th Century Fox) and House (broadcast on FOX, produced by NBC Universal) are possible candidates. I don’t know if I fully agree with those candidates, especially given FOX’s technophobic tendencies lately, but you just never know.

(Thanks, TV Squad!)

No news is good news, unless you’re trying to provide some content for a blog. I can’t even find enough news for full “tidbits” and have to resort to “Powerpoint-esque” bullet points.

  • This shouldn’t be a surprise, but the Dave Chappelle special has rocketed to the number one seller in videos. It’s a trifecta of the popularity of Dave Chappelle, the popularity of a full hour of comedy and the fact that the DVD version is selling at a $14 price point. People know a good bargain when they see it.
  • Also not a surprise, but the addition of The Daily Show is also doing gangbusters, up at #4 at this time. I have no idea whether or not the Multi-Pass sales are being factored into that total, but I imagine they are. We’ll likely find out as time goes on when we see whether or not subsequent episodes rate high as well.
  • The Colbert Report is also doing pretty well, with its first episode currently at #17.
  • Speaking of both The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, both of last night’s episodes were added to iTunes fairly quickly. This was the last potential problem with adding daily programming.
  • The Law & Order: SVU episodes that were missing yesterday have finally been added. However, season 2 of SpongeBob SquarePants is still missing in action.

Finally, from the “neither here nor there” department, every once in a while I’ll trawl the comments on shows just to see what’s out there because so many of them are so inane, pointless and completely unrelated to the show itself (like people begging Apple to add particular shows, as if it were entirely up to them). However, I found one that takes the cake:

Wheres RENO 911 and newer seasons of SOUTH PARK. Apple keeps putting on crappy shows on itunes that no one wants to buy! Plus when are they going to put MOVIES on ITUNES!!!!!!

Setting aside the fact that he is clearly not a reader of this site (and the fact that the entire quote should be proceeded by a large “[sic]”), how selfish do you have to be to give a one-star rating to a show because it’s not something you want. And then claim that no one else wants it because you don’t want it (despite the fact that it’s an immediate top seller).

So there you are, “drewman” apparently wants Reno 911! in iTunes…and movies. You heard it here first, guys!

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