September 20, 2007

This Should Be Interesting (updated) [10:25 am]

So, will NBC’s “free” be more valuable than the iTunes distribution channel? As the NYTimes seems to have found, it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. On the other hand, isn’t it still better to have multiple delivery channels? Or does NBC really believe that they can out-play Apple in this market? NBC to allow free downloading of its TV showspdf (also NBC to Offer Downloads of Its Shows)

NBC will start offering limited free downloads of shows such as “Heroes” and “The Office” as part of its bid to expand the digital distribution of its programs and compete with Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store, the network announced Wednesday.

The new service, dubbed NBC Direct, will allow users to download episodes to computers running Microsoft Windows software for up to a week after the show has aired on television. The file will contain embedded advertising that cannot be skipped.

Seven days after the episode’s TV debut, the digital file will expire.

So, they’re going to sacrifice the media-hungry Mac market, rely upon a locked playback tool *and* count on a set of DRM timebombs? Good luck with that!

Related: CBS aims to be the talk of the Webpdf

Until recently, CBS.com had consisted of what one CBS executive described as “regurgitated television” — full-length streams of shows and scheduling information.

The new, less cluttered website, launched in tandem with the fall season, focuses on attracting communities of fans who want to gab about such CBS shows as “How I Met Your Mother” or “Kid Nation.”

It devotes less space to TV Guide-like programming information and instead provides a forum where viewers can express their views — good and bad — about shows.

“The key lesson from Silicon Valley is respect for the audience,” said Jonathan Barzilay, senior vice president and general manager of entertainment at CBS Interactive.

We’ll see who gets the message

Update: Rupert Murdoch didn’t get to where he is by being foolish: Fox tries new lure for iPod crowd - pdf

Beginning this week, season premiere episodes of seven Fox Broadcasting programs will be made available for free through Apple’s iTunes store, a move that highlights the TV industry’s race to harness the Internet and try out potential business partners.

[...] The deal underscores the television networks’ predicament: They are trying to protect their lucrative businesses at a time when more viewers are catching their favorite shows when they want, thanks to TiVo and digital video recorders.

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