In a slap at Apple (AAPL) iTunes, the NBC Universal unit of GE (GE) yesterday announced that they would make a number of their TV shows available for download and viewing. Consumers can play them on their PCs for one week. NBC recently walked out on iTunes because it thought Apple charged too little for its content. Apple’s fee was higher than "free", so the NBC plan has odd pricing.
Now, the ABC unit of Disney (DIS) will offer free programming on the AOL unit of Time Warner (TWX).
As The Wall Street Journal writes "ABC’s deal highlights how the online strategy of the major TV networks has evolved over the past 18 months, reflecting rapid growth in the number of people watching online video and increasing advertiser interest."
Disney and Time Warner will share revenue.
The consumer is probably becoming confused. He will need to go to AOL to watch ABC. CBS programming is on the iPod. NBC will be doing direct downloads from its own website. NBC and News Corp (NWS) are starting a joint online venture called Hulu.
TV and film will also be available on the Amazon (AMZN) Unbox. Wal-Mart (WMT) has started a video download service. The large retailer will charge for its content. NetFlix (NFLX) is also planning an online movie service.
Viewers will be better off getting their TV and movies from illegal file sharing sites At least all of the content is available from one source.
Douglas A. McIntyre