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"Lost" character John Locke--now on AOL  (Source: ABC)
ABC tries to steal NBC's thunder with its own announcement.

As reported at DailyTech, NBC Universal announced this week that it would be launching a direct download service to allow viewers to download episodes of their TV shows free of charge.

The move followed ABC's initiative from last year to offer free primetime TV content available to download from its website. Now ABC appears to be attempting to steal a bit of NBC's press thunder with an announcement of its own. 

ABC will be offering its prime time content on AOL Video. The shows will be paid for with embedded advertisements, like NBC's shows.

ABC is owned by Walt Disney and AOL is owned by Time Warner, so the move marks a major collaboration between the two media giants.

Otherwise, the main impact appears to be that ABC will be the first network to give viewers the choice to either download TV content or view it online at AOL Video, both for free.  This may be useful in cases where viewers can't download videos due to filtering or in older machines where hard drive space is scarce (though that is less likely with today's massive hard drives).

Among the shows ABC will be showing on AOL Video are "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy".  New shows will be added for the fall TV season.

Four episodes per show will usually be online at once and older episodes will be removed after a set number of days.

The move follows a wave of free, which besides NBC's announcement includes SpiralFrog's free music download service and The New York Times'opening of their archives and select columns.

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take that apple!
By nerdye on 9/21/2007 2:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
Apple was unable/unwilling to satisfy nbc to keep their content on their download services. Now abc has followed with making their content free as well, this can only be good for the consumer and bad for the likes of apple that will charge you per episode/movie/song, ect. =)

RE: take that apple!
By Oregonian2 on 9/21/2007 2:47:52 PM , Rating: 2
I suspect that the Apple versions didn't have embedded un-skippable commercials in them though (and didn't expire after a week).

RE: take that apple!
By JasonMick on 9/21/2007 3:56:47 PM , Rating: 2

Buying episodes from iTunes or Unbox(in the case of NBC) is like buying the season on DVD.

The episode is yours to watch keep and transfer for as long as you want. Also, there are no ads typically, and sometimes extra content is offered.

Of and iTunes, Unbox is slightly more flexible in that they will allow NBC to offer free pilot episodes to promote their shows. To my knowledge nothing is free at iTunes (however the price will likely be slightly lower per episode, so I suppose this balances it out).

RE: take that apple!
By Hacp on 9/21/2007 7:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
Huh? Didn't they announce a free episode of Prison Break from Itunes?

RE: take that apple!
By tmp8000 on 9/21/2007 5:50:28 PM , Rating: 3
If you think this move by ABC is to compete with iTunes or eventually move away you're crazy. Not because it's a bad idea, but because ABC is owned by Disney and the majority shareholder (or whatever) of Disney is none other than Steve Jobs.

RE: take that apple!
By afkrotch on 9/22/2007 12:27:59 AM , Rating: 2
Being majority shareholder and being in control of Disney are two very seperate things. All he's really got at Disney is stocks and a seat at their board.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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