NBC Direct.com: iTunes Replacement in 11 Steps + Ads!


NBC decided to dump iTunes because they wanted to go down their own path.

Why offer consumers, viewers and customer convenience when consumers will do ‘whatever we at NBC say?’

NBC – we’re so good – people should jump through flaming hoops to watch us!

iTunes was oh so simple and boring.

Sure, ONE CLICK could buy, download, sync and load onto an iPod but who wants portable downloading TV as convenient as normal watching TV?

We at NBC can add so many more steps!

Okay, ready to watch NBC Direct on your computer?

Here’s all you need to buy first:

A Windows PC

Then you will you will need to download and install a few things:

Internet Explorer
The .NET Framework
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Player Security Update

Five restarts later … and a quick prayer your DLL file is not messed up …

NOW, we’re cooking!

Oh wait, the lawyers do want you to know a few more things:

US residents only!
TV shows will be available for 7 days!
Whatever you download dies after 48 HOURS!
We’ve added the commercials you love best (no fast forwarding)!
& of course NO downloads to iPods and no not even Zunes or SanDisks.

NBC’s motto?
“We want to make it so inconvenient you just throw up your arms and watch at home like it’s 1975 … (ah, pre VCR, the good old days …).”


The resemblence to iTunes is uncanny … well, for the 3 GE execs who sat down for Zucker’s presentation – they didn’t have to spend 4 hours downloading, re-downloading, scrubbing and patching their PC to get this working. All they had to do was walk into the conference room and see THE OFFICE up & running and sign off on this $15 million project to buy more servers and license the other white meat DRM.

I don’t know what this project actually costs but I presume it’s probably exactly the same amount of iTunes revenue NBC is giving up – just corporate karma.

So, in other words – no iTunes, no iPods, 48 hours to watch, short shelf life, lots of Windows downloading to get it to work and commercials …

This could only be dumber if they hired the Dog Bounty Hunter & Britney Spears to be the spokespersons … but not by much.

GE sure thinks Jeff Zucker is a genius … I am so selling my GE stock.

So, what’s my other choice … what is this TORRENT, TORRENT, TORRENT, TORRENT, TORRENT & TORRENT thing you speak of? How will I ever find a TV show that just aired in HD to load onto my iPod … if only there was an internet solution, if only it weren’t 1975 and I was in some peachy future of 2007 where I was connected to millions of others on some vast network … oh, if only …


And our thoughts on Zucker.


Filed under Advertising, Apple, Computing, Design, Gadgets, Internet, iPhone, Marketing, Media, media companies out of shape, Retail, TV

5 responses to “NBC Direct.com: iTunes Replacement in 11 Steps + Ads!

  1. PXV

    NBC downloads are incompatible with my Mac, but the online service worked fine. Within a minute I was watching a show on a not-too-swift DSL. It ain’t iTunes, but it ain’t bad when you consider it’s free.

    (METROXING: No reason why NBC can’t offer both – but NBC Direct is supposed to replace iTunes only you can’t download to any portable device – not even WMP based players …).</strong>

  2. CRD

    Many of the shows I buy on iTunes I discover first through a free download … then I go back and buy al the episodes I missed.

    NBC is acting like a big crybaby with all this. If they want to do their own thing, they should go ahead, but then let all of us that are willing to PAY them for the content continue to do so through iTunes.

    Better yet, they should sell shows for 49 cents in iTunes and leave the commercials win. They can charge more for their ads then and give AAPL all the money for the download for acting as a delivery service for their commercials. We all win.

    (METROXING: Yea, what NBC is doing is illogical – why not offer both? Some people won’t ever pay, this way they can just go to NBC Direct or NBC.com or Hulu and watch for “free,” and for those who want to buy an episode to watch over & over again, why not make another $15 million (or about the revenue for 60-75 ads) … yea, NBC = dumb).

  3. Peter

    “If they want to do their own thing, they should go ahead, but then let all of us that are willing to PAY them for the content continue to do so through iTunes.”

    Well…then they’re competing with iTunes.

    If NBC decides to sell shows online for $2.99 an episode (to see if the market will bear higher prices), it wouldn’t really be a reasonable test if iTunes is selling the same thing for $1.99. They can test less money but not more.

    “they should sell shows for 49 cents in iTunes and leave the commercials win [sic].”

    First, they tried to talk Apple into this. Apple wasn’t interested.

    NBC doesn’t want people fast-forwarding through the commercials. Apple would have to modify QuickTime, etc. to not allow this. I don’t think Apple has any interest in spending the manpower necessary to deal with this.

    (METROXING: Not disagreeing with you but it should also be noted that there are plenty of people who don’t have iTunes, who think it’s only for iPods, loath Apple in general, unsure how to download anything or just unaware of it so you could argue that NBC could try and sell it at $2.99 and even sweeten the deal by starting some rewards program towards NBC gear or something … all the while selling for $1.99 on iTunes … NBC sells DVD’s online but at a higher price than WM but some people don’t care or don’t know … no reason not to try and reach everyone instead of somehow believing if it’s available on iTunes, everyone will only buy it there … I would not have had a real problem if NBC just said honestly, we think our programming is worth more and we want to offer it as a “NBC experience” only (much like Apple prefers you buy their computer at their stores) but Zucker had to go on … “iPods & iTunes killed music and they should pay us from iPod sales … we’re not making anything, yaddi, yaddi, yaddi” …).

  4. I think they should pay viewers to watch their shows.

  5. Hammer of Truth

    Anybody else not shocked that NBC is that dumb? I think they are having a hard time dealing with not being #1 anymore. They still think that we should pay whatever they want and use whatever they want to watch their shows. I think the writer’s strike will finally do Zucker in.

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