Posted September 20, 2007 2:49 pm by with 7 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

No, it’s not iTunes, Hulu, Amazon or even BitTorrent. Soon you’ll be able to get your free fix of Heroes, Conan, and The Office—directly from NBC. Well, from their service, NBC Direct.

The ad-supported free content model is, of course, nothing new. In March, for example, CBS partnered with YouTube to provide free, ad-supported NCAA tourney clips. We reported:

In 2005, their subscription model pulled in $250,000. Not too shabby, but nothing compared to 2006, when they switched to a free, streaming, ad-based model: $4.5 million. That’s an 1800% increase.

Of course, there is a catch (or several). NBC Direct will only offer Windows-compatible files. The shows will be available as soon as they air (unlike their Amazon deal, which will offer season premieres in advance), but the digital files will expire seven days after airing. The advertising cannot be skipped.

NBC Direct is slated to launch next month. Future plans will include the ability to receive automatic updates (can we say RSS?), Mac downloads, and the ability to transport the shows to a portable device (which means a video iPod, right?).

NBC already offers paid downloads of their shows directly from their website as well as free streaming versions.

What do you think? Is this really an improvement over their iTunes deal for the consumer? Or is NBC only helping themselves?

  • I think that NBC Direct will be great for the consumer, while admittedly, NBC would not consider implementing this type of program if it did not predict it would have even greater benefits for the network itself. In fact, I think that its potential popularity will promote even more networks to take advantage of the ad-supported free content model that NBC has implemented.

  • It was only a matter of time. I assume everything will be 100% free on the internet in about 15-20 years, and internet copyright rules will be rewritten after that. You cannot charge for something if someone else gives it away for free. First music, then movies, streaming video, and now tv show downloads. Just my 2 cents.

  • “Free” is internet’s language nowadays. Google was the first to make several sites wake up and smell the corndogs.
    What I don’t enjoy is the fact that NBC’s supporting Microsoft by helping them continue their current monopoly. Although it’s kinda obvious, since they have a bit of a merger (

  • techniquelly ??? what is free………
    nothing online is free becuase it always has a tie in. Think of google, every free service provides google with revenue or opportunity to make revenue. Youtube, free video – isn’t that why thier trying to monetize the videos…..
    Free, yea, but they will get something. After all, they are here to make money not give it away.

  • Wait impatiently for this feature.

  • I usually use bear share

  • chris

    we don’t have windows so until NBC lets us download shows in a platform-agnostic format it’s ad-free bittorrent for this household.