NBC’s grieving period, if there had ever been one, is over. NBC Universal TV content is now available on Amazon Unbox, Amazon.com’s digital video download service. And Amazon
is happy to have NBC name its price.
Starting on Sept. 10, NBC and Amazon will make pilot episodes of
this fall’s new shows available for free in advance of their network
premieres, including Bionic Woman, Chuck, Journeyman and Life.
Additional NBC shows available on Unbox will be The Office, Heroes and 30 Rock. NBC
Universal’s networks include NBC, USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, Bravo,
Telemundo, mun2, NBC Sports, and NBC News.
The news comes after a tawdry and highly public break-up between NBC and Apple last week. First, NBC confirmed a report that
negotiations to renew its contract to sell its shows through Apple’s
iTunes store had fallen through. Talk circulated that NBC hoped
negotiations would pick up again, however.
But then Apple dropped the hammer and said it was pulling NBC shows
off its virtual shelves immediately even though the current contract
didn’t expire until December.
“We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not
agree to their dramatic price increase,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice
president of iTunes, in a statement.
Amazon’s aggressive move is characteristic of its competition with
Apple in the content-download business.
When Apple announced in April it would sell DRM-free versions of
record label EMI’s digital music catalog, Amazon soon followed with
plans of its own to offer DRM-free MP3 format songs from more than
12,000 record labels, starting with EMI Music’s digital catalog.
In July, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos flew executives from the online music
store start-up Amie Street out to California for a meeting. By
August, Amazon announced it contributed to Amie Street’s series A financing.
New episodes from NBC shows will appear on Unbox the night after they
air on TV, joining Amazon’s catalog of 10,000 television shows,
movies and other video content for rent or purchase.