from the i'm-still-on-betamax dept

Both NBC Universal and CBS announced deals to put some of their shows out via video-on-demand networks today, selling individual episodes for 99 cents each (half the price Apple is charging for ABC shows for iPods). NBC's deal is with DirecTV, which will sell commercial-free versions of some shows made in-house by the network that run on its broadcast or cable channels; Comcast will sell its viewers versions of four CBS series, just hours after they go out on the air, with commercials still included -- but only in Comcast markets with CBS affiliates owned by the network. This is a sizable shift for the broadcast networks, which have resisted VOD offerings and even DVRs. But like the "start over" feature NBC announced with Time Warner, they're little more than a start. A limited number of shows, a limited number of markets -- this will probably be met with limited interest, particularly when people can buy DVR service for about $10 a month. Broadcast networks need to figure out a comprehensive strategy to move away from the rigid broadcast schedule -- if somebody wants to watch a show, why are the networks so insistent that it must be watched on their schedule?

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2005 @ 9:12pm

    No Subject Given

    CBS actually offers their episodes on CBS.com for free, unlike NBC that offers them for a price.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    gary, Nov 7th, 2005 @ 9:49pm

    Get a tivo

    I rarely watch shows when they air. Between work and kids I can't schedule my life around the networks schedule. I view when I can. I tivo the few shows I like (which is only 3 at this point) and watch them when I feel like it. I rent dvds of old shows I like (gotta love netflix). I wouldn't pay to download a show because it just isn't worth the money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Oliver Wendell Jones, Nov 8th, 2005 @ 5:08am

    I assume that's a rhetorical question?

    The reason that networks care about what time you watch their show is simple (and it's the answer to every question any consumer has about why a company does things) - MONEY.

    The networks can charge more for advertising during prime time than they can for the 1:00-2:00 pm weekday slot, so the networks put the popular shows on during the times when they can charge the most money and fill the rest of the schedule with re-runs and other crap.

    If NBC lets you watch new episodes of Law & Order at some time other than what they want, they don't make as much money because you're not seeing their "prime time advertisements".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Col. Jack Oneill, Nov 8th, 2005 @ 7:27am

    It amazes me what people pay for

    DVR for $10/month? MythTV free, Freevo free. The only problem I have is I still forget to set my MythTV to record just like I do with the VCR. So I just hop on the "original instant messaging and file sharing network you never hear about but has been around since 1988" and download the episodes. In fact recently it's been better. I don't have HDTV service, but last night I downloaded all of this season's Alias and Smallville episodes ripped from HDTV broadcast with the commercials edited out. Probably looks better on an actual HDTV, but watching it on my TV through the component outputs of my XBOX is definitely better than my standard analog cable service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Laura Sydell, Nov 8th, 2005 @ 9:41am

    Re: It amazes me what people pay for

    I'm a reporter with National Public Radio and I'm doing a story on the deal that just came down. I'd like to talk to consumers like yourself about what they think. Any chance you're around and would want to chat? I'm on a deadline for today's All Things Considered so I'd need to speak to you in the next hour or so. Right now it's 12:40 EST.
    You can call me at 415-503-3164. Hope to hear from you.
    Laura Sydell

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Laura Sydell, Nov 8th, 2005 @ 9:44am

    Re: Get a tivo

    Laura Sydell here. I'm a reporter with National Public Radio and I'm working on a piece about the deals that just got made with DirectTV and Comcast. Specifically, I'm looking into what this would mean for consumers. It would be great to chat with you and get your thoughts on tape. Any chance you are interested and around? I'd need to speak with you in the next hour or so. Or at least by 2:00 PM EST today -- November 8. If you're interested give me a call or email me how I can get in touch. I'm at 415-503-3164.
    Hope to hear from you.
    Laura Sydell

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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