NBC Universal (NBCU) last Wednesday announced that it would begin offering full-length TV programs for download over mobile phones — making it one of the first major U.S. broadcasters to offer such a service. The broadcaster has teamed with MobiTV, the technology that enables the streaming of TV content to mobile phones, to roll out the new service, expected to launch later this year.
The new service will allow viewers to download full-length episodes of NBCU primetime programs for a small fee for a 24-hour viewing period. Current seasons of shows produced by NBCU Television Studios will be offered, including "The Office" and "Heroes" from NBC, USA's "Monk" and Sci Fi's "Battlestar Galactica." Several ad-supported on-demand shows will also be available at no extra charge from within the MobiTV base subscription channel package. Short-form programming will be offered on five new ad-supported channels.
Part of the appeal of mobile TV for broadcasters like NBCU is its potential for creating new streams of revenue based on popular in-house programming. In a statement to the press issued shortly after NBCU's announcement, Jean-Briac (JB) Perrette, president of NBC Universal Digital Distribution, said the service would "create another platform for NBCU's partner advertisers to reach their audience."