This is great news! NBC cancelled it’s deal without renewing with iTunes for distributing it’s shows as content and instead have come up with an advertising supported model on their own site that gives you the viewer a way to download the shows for free with ads in it of course. It is ok though by me because it is free. I hate paying for TV (alas why I don’t have cable) and I think it’s great that advertisers stepped up to pay for this extra feature so the citizens can take the show with them on iPods, Phones and small video players. This is also something that depending on the format, you can burn to DVD and watch as many times as you like. Which is what real fans do. So, this season you can get Heroes, The Bionic Woman and all your Favorite new season NBC Shows to download for free through their site on a service called NBC Direct. (the only hitch is it’s for windows based players only right now, take that apple!) I hope that this makes CBS and ABC do the same thing. It would help raise traffic on their sites substancially and make them more of an entertainment portal online than a TV channel web site. And as they are always looking to grow, being an entertainment portal would be better. Television has evolved into a multiplatform medium and it’s all entertainment no matter which format or device it is playing on.
Update: I just read that this service uses DRM (digital rights management software) to limit the number of days it is available after download and the number of viewings. This plainly sucks. It’s not really going to be flexible enough to do all the stuff real fans want if its limited to their proprietary system and then deletes itself after a week. That’s just crap. And we wonder why people illegally download? It’s free, its flexible and it’s forever. Build something like that (ad supported) and people will come.