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NBC, Time Warner let viewers “start over”

NBC Universal and Time Warner Cable said they have reached a broad carriage renewal agreement that includes video-on-demand rights and new interactive television services. The deal allows a new “start over” feature that lets viewers restart shows already in progress.

Some programs from NBC’s USA, CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo and SCI FI networks will have “Start Over” capability, Reuters reported. Viewers using the feature, however, will not be able to fast forward past commercials, which has been a lure for programmers wary of digital video recorders and VOD.

The service lets viewers act on impulse or because of unexpected delays. They don’t have to plan ahead to record a show, as they do with digital video recorders (DVRs).

Time Warner sees “Start Over” as another sweetener to lure customers to pay the extra $10 or so a month for digital service, which also brings more channels and adds services including VOD, USA Today reported.

But programmers and networks must give Time Warner permission to store and transmit their shows. Many have resisted cable operator pleas to offer shows on a VOD channel for time-shifted viewing, the newspaper said.

NBC also will develop interactive TV services for Time Warner Cable and participate in new technology trials, the companies said. Several NBC programs will be available on-demand as part of the new agreement.

The pact with NBC was part of a larger two-year deal in which Time Warner agreed to continue carrying NBC Universal’s cable channels — including newcomers Universal HD and Telemundo Puerto Rico.

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