With the fall season set to start, broadcast networks announced a slew of deals to digitally distribute their new shows, both on their Websites and through partners.
ABC reached a deal to allow affiliates to stream primetime shows on their own Websites. The network also has expanded to seven the number of shows it will stream on ABC.com the day after they air and will give away 1 million video downloads of last season’s Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey’s Anatomy finales on iTunes.
Affiliates now can feature ABC’s newly redesigned broadband player on their own Websites and promote it on-air and online. They also will be able to sell local advertising against it and keep all revenues; this is the first time a network broadband player will carry local ads.
Joining ABC, CBS and Fox, NBC will stream free, ad-supported episodes of its fall shows. NBC is also launching live blogs tied to the premieres of all its new shows, with commentary by creators, producers and cast members.
The network also unveils a larger-screen broadband video player Oct. 1 on NBC.com. The first four episodes of new comedies 30 Rock and Twenty Good Years and the first eight episodes of dramas Kidnapped, Friday Night Lights, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Heroes will stream on the player the day after they air.
CBS streamed the premieres of Smith, The Class and The New Adventures of Old Christine on Google Video last week, a week before their TV debuts.
Digital distribution of NBC’s Studio 60 and ABC’s The Nine was secured through agreements with Warner Bros., which produces the shows. NBC’s deal allows the network to stream Studio 60 on its sites and those of affiliates, as well as on third-party sites, on-demand and wireless platforms. Warner Bros. retains the rights to paid downloads.
ABC can stream The Nine on ABC.com and retain the advertising revenue, while Warner Bros. will offer paid downloads of the show the day after episodes air.