NBC Direct To Offer Free Show Downloads Via Closed Podcast Platform

Sep 20th, 2007 | By | Category: Corporate Podcasts, Digital Video Downloads, Internet TV, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcasting Services, Video, Video Podcasts

NBC LogoNBC has announced a new service, NBC Direct, which will let you download and view NBC’s primetime and late-night programming to Windows PCs to watch for up to a week after the shows are broadcast.

The service, which will begin beta testing in October, promises to let you download full-length episodes of Heroes, The Office, Bionic Woman, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show and other popular shows. The downloads will be DRM’d so that they can only be viewed on authorized systems and they will expire after one week.

NBC also plans to offer a subscription option for the service. You’ll be able to subscribe to the shows you want and have them automatically downloaded to your computer. Sound familiar? In effect, NBC is introducing a closed video podcast platform.

While this is a huge leap forward for a major network, the system’s closed nature means that you won’t be able to view shows on Macs, iPods, iPhones or other portable media players, shows will “expire” and you’ll need another system if CBS or ABC starts offering downloads.

“With the creation of this new service, we are acknowledging that now, more than ever, viewers want to be in control of how, when and where they consumer their favorite entertainment,” said Vivi Zigler, Executive Vice President, NBC Digital Entertainment. “Not only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience.”

About NBC Direct

Each original episode will be licensed to users for viewing through “NBC Direct” for one week following broadcast and will then expire. According to NBC, the downloaded file will provide users with an improved overall viewing experience compared to traditional streaming video.

The list of programs available at launch will include “Heroes,” “The Office,” “Life,” “Bionic Woman,” “30 Rock,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

Later in the beta launch, users will be provided the free subscription option that will allow them to pre-select their favorite NBC programs they want to watch. Those shows will be automatically delivered to their computers as soon as they are available after the original broadcast. The downloadable player will also have filtering technology, which will prevent it from playing any stolen copyrighted material.

Future versions of “NBC Direct,” which¬†are planned to¬†roll out over the next several months, will provide expanded platform functionality and will allow DRM (“digital rights management”) protected versions of its programs to be downloaded to Macs and portable devices in addition to PCs. NBC.com plans future enhancements such as high-resolution versions of programming made available via a closed P2P (“peer to peer”) distribution network. Using closed P2P will ensure that the maximum number of users will be able to view consistent, high-quality content directly from their desktops. Later in 2008, NBC.com plans to offer other business models for downloaded content in order to provide its users multiple options to consume their favorite NBC programs. These paid business models may include download-to-own, rental and subscription.

No Responses to “NBC Direct To Offer Free Show Downloads Via Closed Podcast Platform”

  1. Murphy says:

    I’m a Mac, iTunes, iPod user, so for the time being, the new NBC system shuts me out completely, but I have to wonder how many PC users are gonna look at this arrangement and think, “What? ANOTHER player?”

    I know that gives ME pause when I think about whether I want to download NBC content in the future.

    And, right now, the “expires after one week” is a deal breaker for me. If I were a fan, I’d watch a show and tape it, then buy the season’s DVD set, which makes the download system superfluous.

  2. info says:

    Murphy

    I’m with you. How many players do they expect us to install?

    Of course – they all probably want to become THE download player standard…..

  3. […] In something so boneheaded it’s bound to fail, NBC (who previously withdrew video content from iTunes) will now be providing proprietary DRM’d video downloads of their programming that expire after a week.¬† And it only works on Windows. ‚ÄúWith the creation of this new service, we are acknowledging that now, more than ever, viewers want to be in control of how, when and where they consumer [sic] their favorite entertainment,‚Äù said Vivi Zigler, Executive Vice President, NBC Digital Entertainment.¬† ‚ÄúNot only does this feature give them more control, but it also gives them a higher quality video experience.‚Äù [emphasis mine] […]

  4. […] NBC has announced a new service, NBC Direct, which will let you download and view NBC‚Äôs primetime and late-night programming to Windows PCs to watch for up to a week after the shows are broadcast. It’s basically a proprietary podcast platform – meaning that NBC’s adding DRM and limiting what you can do with downloads. […]

  5. NBC sucks says:

    “With the creation of this new service, we are acknowledging that now, more than ever, viewers want to be in control of how, when and where they consumer their favorite entertainment,”

    Sure, what puts us more in control than making it unplayable on the most popular platform in existence (ipod), forcing me to watch commercials, and only giving us access for one week? Thanks NBC! You really know what your viewers want.

  6. Andrew Moulton says:

    to be fair, it will probably be in WMV format, so if you are not able to play it, its your own damn fault….WMV drm is SOOO easy to break, and then converting it is something that has been done with the greatest of ease for years, it is apple that decided the ipod can’t play windows media files, it’s apple who would’nt co-operate with nbc, and it’s apple who wouldnt make a proper deal with microsoft to get protected WM files on the mac.

    there are plenty of players out there [that are better than the ipod] that will work with this service, so there is nothing more than your OWN consumerism stopping you from experiencing NBC direct, by purchasing an iPod, you are buying the brand name, not a optimized piece of technology!

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