NBC, SanDisk do Web-to-TV

NBC Universal (NBCU) is adding more juice to its online video distribution strategy following its messy breakup with Apple’s iTunes. The latest deal: TV shows through storage player SanDisk’s Fanfare service.

The deal marks the latest chapter in NBC’s efforts to cement a digital distribution strategy. Earlier this year, the media giant parted ways acrimoniously with Apple over disputes on pricing and the PC and iPod maker’s tight control of its online music and video store.

Since then, NBC has hooked up with Amazon.com to distribute its shows on the e-commerce colossus’s Unbox digital download service.

The latest agreement will see NBCU’s shows, including series from NBC, USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, Telemundo, mun2 and Bravo being made available on the Fanfare service beginning in January. The videos will be a combination of ad-supported and paid downloads. NBC said it would make new shows available for download the day after they air.

SanDisk, best known for its work in flash device and PC memory, introduced its Fanfare service in October. Fanfare enables users to download video to SanDisk’s Sansa TakeTV device for playback on their TVs. The service is currently in beta testing.

The two companies said they would work to develop new pricing and packaging models for the service. Initially, those models will include discounts for bulk and season purchases.

Jean-Briac Perrette, NBCU’s president for digital distribution, said viewers now have another way to enjoy NBCU’s broadcast and cable content whenever and wherever they choose with Fanfare and Sansa TakeTV.

The service also will entail a measure of copy protection. SanDisk said that plans to partner “to explore the implementation of watermarking and filtering technology solutions.”

In addition to NBCU, SanDisk’s service offers a fairly impressive array of content from CBS, Showtime Networks, Smithsonian Networks, The Weather Channel, TV Guide Broadband and Jaman.com.

“SanDisk’s partnership with NBCU…gives us the ability to distribute a wide variety of additional premium hit TV content to consumers via Fanfare,” Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk’s president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “SanDisk is committed to providing consumers a vast collection of legitimate content, while protecting the rights of content owners.”

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