A pair of deals among CBS- Comcast and NBC-DirecTV will soon allow viewers to pay to watch primetime broadcasts they may have missed mere hours from the original air time. Each episode will cost eager fans 99 cents to locate and view the shows handpicked by both networks.
On Demand TV
Coupled with other recent advances such as ABC shows available for Internet download and for Apple Computers’ iPods no doubt set a precedent for the recent joining. Viacom co-president/COO and CBS chairman Les Moonves said in a statement that "as with the Disney iPod deal, I think this deal is symbolic of the new age.”
Amid the announcement merely hours from one another, some analysts have opposed this new video-on-demand system stating it could potentially alter accurate ratings data and therefore, advertising rates. Others hope the system will entice viewers who regularly skip broadcasts to pick up the episodes at a later date, thus creating a rise in viewer ship. Moonves and NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker refute the opposition as inappropriately premature criticism. "It is a significant acknowledgment that the way people are watching television is changing and the model is quickly changing," NBC Uni Television Group president Jeff Zucker said.
Although the cost of the deals remains similar, each system offers a different approach. NBC’s deal with DirecTV allows for a commercial-free package while CBS will include the same advertisements from the original broadcast. Moonves quickly defended this approach saying it is not about dodging commercials, "It's about the convenience of having it any time you want." CBS also excludes additional Comcast shows not affiliated with the CBS broadcast. Conversely, NBC will offer several series from various cable networks including “Monk” from USA and “Battlestar Galactica” from the Sci Fi Channel—although both networks operate under sister-co NBC Universal TV Studio.
Both studios claim to be gearing up for a January 2006 startup date.