updated 11:35 am EST, Tue December 11, 2007
NBC on SanDisk Fanfare
NBC today announced that it would bring its TV shows to SanDisk's recently unveiled Fanfare video service, significantly expanding the beta-stage video download site's catalog beyond existing offerings from CBS, Showtime, and similar networks. The deal will land much of the content from NBC's main station, including 30 Rock and Heroes; affiliated channels such as Bravo and USA Network will also be available. Fanfare allows viewing on the computer but is primarily designed to pair up with SanDisk's Sansa TakeTV, which serves as a transportable video player for TVs and is hte only device so far that will play Fanfare content.
NBC has not yet revealed whether it will rely on either of SanDisk's primary business models for video. The service allows producers to either offer episodes for free with embedded ads or to sell them for $2 each as ad-free versions. NBC's joint venture with News Corp, Hulu, currently offers shows for free but only allows web viewing, in part to enable dynamic ads that are replaced over time.
The network's decision is likely a response to Apple's decision to pull NBC shows from the iTunes Store last week as the result of unsuccessful attempts by the two parties to agree on a contract for video sales. The broadcaster has accused Apple of being too rigid in its price structure by insisting that all shows sell for the same price and declining the option of bundling shows. Apple in return claims NBC has asked to charge as much as $5 for a single episode, a claim which NBC later denied.