ABC is still the only major network making shows available via iTunes, but the other two television giants are
being forced to do the same slowly getting in the game. CBS will be partnering with Comcast to offer cable subscribers past episodes of CSI/NCIS/Survivor/The Amazing Race through the provider’s video-on-demand service, while NBC is partnering with DirecTV to offer episodes of Law & Order: SVU/The Office/Monk(from USA Network)/Battlestar Galactica (from the SciFi Channel).
It seems fair to say that we honestly couldn’t expect the networks to go hog wild with their content-on-demand offering, and the distribution partnerships are obviously hamstrung; starting in January, the CBS content will only be available in markets where the network owns the local CBS affiliates (independently-owned affiliates likely whined about how such a service would reduce the pool of those viewing their content). On the flip side, DirecTV subscribers interested in downloading NBC programs will only be able to do so with digital video recorders that go on sale this month.
This is my favorite part of the New York Times article dealing with the announcements:
This is the first time the CBS and NBC broadcast networks have tried to be paid directly for newly broadcast shows rather than just rely on advertising revenue.
Scary. To think that it’s taken a half-century of televised broadcasts to get us to the point where the producers actually make money from the content, rather than by force-feeding advertising down the throats of viewers. Sometimes progress really takes a long time, and there’s still more ground to cover on this one. Sick of hearing from the RIAA about distribution rights/costs/etc.? Get ready, because I’m sure we’ll be able to devote an entire book to the same issues as they apply to TV.