NBCU unlikely to join Apple 99-cent rentals

NEW YORK Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:59pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker said on Wednesday his company is not likely to follow rivals to make its TV shows available for Apple Inc's new 99-cent rental service unveiled earlier this month.

Offering NBC's shows for that price on the Apple TV service would undermine the value of their shows, he said.

"We do not think 99 cents is the right price point for our content. ... We thought it would devalue our content," Zucker said at a Goldman Sachs investor conference.

He pointed to the fact NBC shows are already available for $1.99 for download on Apple's iTunes service.

CBS Corp Chief Executive Leslie Moonves did not rule out talking with Apple again at some point next year, but said he would not rent his shows to the service for now.

"Our content is the family jewels," he said at the conference.

Apple inked a deal with News Corp's Fox and Walt Disney's ABC to make their shows available for 99 cents per rental when it announced the launch of the new Apple TV box.

News Corp President Chase Carey, also speaking at the conference, described the Apple 99-cent deal as a "short-term test."

NBC Universal is in the process of being merged with Comcast Corp's entertainment unit in a new joint venture with current owner General Electric Co, pending the outcome of an ongoing regulatory review.

Comcast Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said earlier at the conference that the merger is still on course to be completed by the end of the year.

(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke and Jennifer Saba; Editing by Richard Chang)

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