Video on Demand Is More Like Video on Delay

Video on demand (VOD) hasn't lived up to its big potential as of yet - especially with big hit broadcast TV shows. A recent NBC/TNT deal for "Las Vegas" has moved the business closer to its ideal - by just over a week.

NBC Universal sold TNT the rights to "Las Vegas" for about $450,000 an episode, which included VOD rights. TNT will get 88 episodes to run starting in 2007. As part of the VOD rights deal, TNT gets to air the original episodes eight days after they run on NBC.

"Las Vegas" isn't the biggest of network shows, but it is a good performer for NBC. Until this time, networks have been fearful of selling VOD rights because the extra plays could diminish the show value. In this case, the original episodes run on NBC Mondays at 9 p.m. But, NBC Universal took the chance because it is looking for more cash.

Big hit TV shows such as CBS' "CSI" or ABC's "Desperate Housewives" have yet to strike any VOD deals because extra airings of true VOD - near the original airing -- would hurt the network runs of shows. That could continue - at least until the networks figure out how to handle those extra plays.



One of those ways could be in having broadcast networks - and their related production company divisions - only sell those rights to their own cable networks; any drop in viewership would at least be kept in the company. But, that wasn't NBC Universal's plan, as it didn't sell the show to USA Network or Bravo.

Instead, NBC went with a significant eight-day window. Strong fans of the show most likely would want to see the show as soon as it comes out on NBC. Curiosity seekers of the show aren't in such a rush - and will wait the eight days. But, that's still good news, as a VOD show could pick up new viewers.

Of course, that doesn't do much for the video on demand moniker. It's still VOD - just call it video on delay.

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