NBC intimiated by "uncertain" new media - makes 3rd investment in 5 weeks

by Paul William Tenny

While NBC and the other major networks and studios continue - even four weeks into a writers strike over these issues - to claim that the "new media" market (digital downloads and streaming video) is too uncertain and unprofitable to share in their booty with writers, they continue pushing aggressively into these supposedly nonexistent markets at a record pace with new deals being announced practically on a weekly basis.
NBC has been at the forefront of such endeavors by launching a streaming video site in partnership with Fox on which it will stream all of its hit shows for free to users (with commercials) in the form of Hulu.com. Another service launched in recent weeks was a service that allowed people to download episodes from NBC and watch them at their leisure, although those downloads were not owned by the user and would expire within a week.

Now comes another venture from NBC in a partnership with Netflix, according to Variety, which will open yet another front for streaming episodes of their hit show Heroes, as well as critically acclaimed but not-so-critically watched Friday Night Lights.

For NBC, the Netflix deal is the third prong in its off-network "Heroes" strategy, which gives the online movie rental service the exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to the show.

"This deal reflects the changing landscape of the entertainment marketplace and our objective of finding new buyers that complement our traditional customers," said NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution exec VP-general sales manager Frances Manfredi.

This "changing landscape of the entertainment marketplace" is so unstable and unprofitable that NBC has launched a total of three streaming or download services/partnerships in five weeks alone, and is part of the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers which currently refuse to compensate writers for streaming video at all - which they consider 100% "promotional", even when they are making money in the form of commercials or subscription profit sharing from all three ventures.

These deals don't account for the money NBC makes from individual episode purchases on Amazon Unbox which would make it an even four different places you can get NBC shows from online - three of them for free (not including piracy.)

Oddly enough, joke many writers, the situation they find themselves in is eerily similar to piracy: they don't get paid for that, either.
in Digital Media, Labor, Streaming Video


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