iTunes Boosts Prime-time Ratings for Networks (GE, DIS, AAPL)

Includes: AAPL, DIS, GE

Here's an important development for both the major TV/movie conglomerates and Apple: NBC claims that the American version of 'The Office' has jumped to its highest-ever ratings due to downloads of the iPod Video version of the show (via Apple's online store, iTunes). TV Week reports:

Such a connection between podcast success and broadcast ratings success is particularly significant because the NBC data is among the first available evidence of what network executives have been gambling on when striking their new media deals -that the new video platforms are additive because they provide more entry points into a show for consumers...

The iTunes offering is bringing new audiences to the show that would not otherwise have watched, said Frederick Huntsberry, president of NBCU Television Distribution. "Consumers have choices, and we are not reaching all consumers with one technology," he said. iTunes is one way to bring fresh eyeballs to the network, he said, in particular the younger demo that uses video iPods.

And it's not just one network:

ABC has also seen a ratings increase for its two most popular shows available on iTunes. Since they were added to Apple’s store in October, both “Lost