Source AP ©

NBC Universal to extend its business plan over DreamWorks

NBC Universal will consider buying DreamWorks from Viacom Inc.

"If the opportunity were to arise, it's something obviously we would look at," Zucker told an investor conference sponsored by UBS. "We know them well, we have a long history with them."

Viacom bought the DreamWorks studio in 2005 for $1.6 billion and made it part of its Paramount Pictures movie unit, but reports have emerged in recent months that the blockbuster movie director Stephen Spielberg, one of the co-founders of DreamWorks, has been unhappy under Viacom's ownership.

Speaking at the same conference immediately after Zucker, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman sought to downplay any suggestion of frictions with Spielberg, saying Viacom was "very pleased with where we are with DreamWorks," and saying that he has a "very good personal relationship" with Spielberg.

"Our objective is to proceed with mutual respect," Dauman said. "We're going to proceed with calm and deliberateness."

On a separate subject, Zucker said NBC had pulled its video clips off of Apple Inc.'s iTunes service after becoming frustrated with Apple's unwillingness to try setting different prices for TV shows that are sold through downloads at iTunes. Zucker said NBC only made $15 million in profits through selling video on iTunes last year, despite having 40 percent of the market share for video on the service.

NBC Universal is 80 percent owned by General Electric Co. and 20 percent by Vivendi, a French media and telecommunications company.