NBC has announced that its NBC.com app for iPad now offers full episodes, providing viewers with the same content that is online. Generally shows are made available the next day for viewing online.
ABC and CBS have already made full episodes of new network shows available on their apps , but the NBC.com iPad app did not include full episodes when launched in June.
Vivi Zigler, president, NBCUniversal Digital Entertainment, noted in an interview that the delay was not a technical issue but had to do with wanting to make sure the app "provided a good experience to the consumer and that we understood the business model. The portal [NBC.com] app has been performing well. The bugs are worked out and we felt like it was the right time to make them available in advance of the start of the fall season."
Zigler noted that the full episodes will be made available at the same time that they go live online, which is generally at 2 a.m. PT after the show airs. But she admitted that they were also looking carefully at the windowing of the content in the wake of the decision by Fox to tie next day online viewing to its TV Everywhere deals with operators.
"We are looking at that as well," she said, though no decision to change the windowing has been made. "There are a lot of pros and cons to those positions and we want to think out our approach as carefully as possible."
The full episodes were launched as part of a number of enhancements to both the NBC.com app and its co-viewing application, the NBC Live app.
In addition to the full episodes, the NBC.com app has added personalization features that allow consumers to more easily access their favorite shows and to be alerted when there is new content.
NBC's other main app, its NBC Live app, which is designed to offer viewers additional interactive features and original content as they watch live episodes, also got an notable upgrade.
As part of that upgrade, the NBC Live app is now offer unique content for four series, The Office, The Sing-Off, The Biggest Loser and Chuck that is synched to the airing of episodes. The app also allows users to engage with fellow fans in a moderated social stream.
The shows were chosen because they had some of the most social activity around them, but Zigler notes that they expect to add others and in 2012 will once again do The Voice, which proved popular this spring on the app.
That adds up to a very major initiative to expand the features of the apps the network offers around its shows.
"It is a very labor intensive effort with original content [for the co-viewing app] that is moderated [in terms of the social conversation] in two time zones," she notes. "It is not a canned experience. It has to be redone with every episode with every time zone. We tested it and now we're doing four shows, and will continue to expand it."
The NBC.com app and NBC Live app are available for free from the App Store on iPad.