NBC Gives Away SNL Skit on iTunes

NBC Universal late last week put a free "Saturday Night Live" skit up on Apple's iTunes music store. In it, "Saturday Night Live" veteran Chris Parnell and freshman Andy Samberg stomp through the streets of New York very, very seriously rapping about everything from Disney's "The Chronicles of Narnia" to snacking on cupcakes and the most excellent online mapping service.

The skit--entitled "Lazy Sunday" because their rap is, at its core, about what Parnell and Samberg like to do on their Sundays off--is the second free piece of content that NBC has made available on iTunes since entering into a partnership with Apple earlier this month to distribute a wealth of new and archived shows through iTunes for $1.99 an episode.

Earlier last week, NBC's Sci Fi Channel made behind-the-scenes footage from its "Battlestar Galactica" series available on iTunes. That footage will later air on the Sci Fi Channel on Jan. 2.

iTunes users can purchase episodes from new and archived shows from "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and the original "Dragnet" to "Law & Order" and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Other NBC offerings include "The Office," "Surface," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," USA Network's Emmy-winning "Monk," and Sci-Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica," plus TV Land classics like "Adam-12" and "Knight Rider."

NBC's deal with Apple, announced on Dec. 7, followed a similar partnership to Disney's ABC struck with Apple, announced upon the launch of Apple's video iPod in mid-October. Apple's CEO Steve Jobs told members of the press in early December that over three million videos had been downloaded from iTunes since October.

CBS is still the only remaining major network without an iTunes distribution deal, but that might soon change. In early November, CBS Digital President Larry Kramer told OnlineMediaDaily that CBS had already held talks with Apple about distributing its premium shows on iTunes.

Subscription and ad-supported models--as well as selling content piecemeal via iTunes--are all options being considered by CBS Digital, said Kramer, adding that a partnership with Apple was a strong possibility as long as the "economic proposal is fair enough."

Some publishers, such as WashingtonPost.com, have begun uploading video through iTunes without an official partnership with Apple. In late October, Chet Rhodes, the Post's deputy multimedia editor, told OnlineMediaDaily that he aspires to a free ad-supported distribution model. Rhodes estimated that video clips would have to be downloaded at least 10,000 times before the Post's advertisers would take notice.

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