After deliberately picking a fight with Apple and getting its content booted from the iTunes Store, NBC has now shown its other card. It’s not really Amazon’s download service, but free ad-supported downloads.
The trial (with some shows) of the new service has already been ridiculed by at least one commentator:
The new service sounds, quite frankly, hilariously bad. Here’s some of the highlights:Perhaps more interesting to me, it requires going to the NBC Direct website, and (in all likelihood) a dedicated player application.
- commercials that can’t be skipped
- files that lock after seven days
- no transfer to other devices
- Windows onlyMan, we can’t wait to try that out.
So NBC is hoping to recreate on the Internet its 50+ year old business model from broadcasting: ad-supported content through exclusive control of distribution. It’s even a pre-VCR model with no ad skipping and limited time shifting. However, it’s also a verisioning strategy designed to support a lucrative (and more recent) business model: the subsequent sale of compilation DVDs at the end of each season.
In a final irony, the NBC announcement of its ad-supported business model was first reported on NYTimes.com (as well as the dead tree version), which this week announced the demise of its paid TimesSelect service and its shift to an ad-based model.