Thursday, September 20, 2007

NBC’s Brave New World

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:
  • commercials that can’t be skipped
  • files that lock after seven days
  • no transfer to other devices
  • Windows only
  • Man, we can’t wait to try that out.
Perhaps more interesting to me, it requires going to the NBC Direct website, and (in all likelihood) a dedicated player application.

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 (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.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

1 comment:

Seth said...

I realize that digital video media content providers want to do a Lessons Learned and not go down the identical path which happened with downloaded digital music where Steve Jobs controls prices/versioning through iTunes. Times change and business models must evolve if the video content suppliers hope to maintain their power and competitive advantages: e.g., utilize metrics now available through companies like Google and/or Adobe Media Player supporting content through addressable, targeted ads.

Talk about contradictions:

“We are acknowledging that now, more than ever, viewers want to be in control of how, when and where they consume their favorite entertainment” said Viv Zigler, NBC Digital ExecVP [url]

The article continued “…the first version of the service… will permit viewing on Windows-based PCs.”

If NBC acknowledges viewers want to be in control … they need to walk the talk.

Although, the downloaded files will not be viewable after 7 days, Jeff Gaspin, president of the NBC Universal Television Group, did offer an "incentive" for downloaders saying the service is “Kind of like ‘Mission: Impossible,’ only I don’t think there would be any explosion and smoke” [url]http://blog.wired.

NBC must realize they can’t go back home to the 50 year old TV revenue business model.

I don’t see Steve Jobs is losing any sleep over NBC’s latest venture…