Culture

I want my on-demand TV

The broadcast networks started to get with the digital program this week, announcing deals to offer some of their shows on an on-demand basis.

CBS said it would offer "CSI," "NCIS," "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" to Comcast digital cable customers in markets served by CBS-owned TV stations for 99 cents per episode. Meanwhile, NBC announced a deal with DirecTV to offer "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "The Office" and "Surface" to homes equipped with a new DirecTV digital video recorder. Those shows will also cost 99 cents.

On-demand TV

The network moves follow Disney's deal with Apple to make three of its shows available through the iTunes store for $1.99 per download. Also on Monday, Yahoo and TiVo announced a deal to let people schedule downloads to TiVo devices via the Internet.

The main reaction from bloggers was, "Well, it's a start." But will it be enough to reignite waning interest in television programming? Or will the Internet take over for television? Does anyone even watch "Surface?" The answers to these questions and more, on the next installment of "As the Digital Programming Turns."

Blog community response:

"A limited number of shows, a limited number of markets -- this will probably be met with limited interest, particularly when people can buy DVR service for about $10 a month. Broadcast networks need to figure out a comprehensive strategy to move away from the rigid broadcast schedule -- if somebody wants to watch a show, why are the networks so insistent that it must be watched on their schedule?"
--Techdirt

"VOD hasn't been typically been seen as something satellite providers could exploit to the same degree as cable operators, because satellite has far less bandwidth. Monday's announcement shows how satellite companies might work around that situation. This also continues DirecTV's steps in digital media and original programming."
--PaidContent.org

"But for now CBS and NBC Universal seemed to have taken the easy way out and leveraged the video on demand technology engines of their respective selected business partners. So while today's announcement is of a 'video on demand' service, it is a start. I do find their selected price points interesting, considering that for only $1.99, Disney is offering their content to be available for download to an iPod and viewed on a whenever / forever basis."
--The Jeff Pulver blog