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Viacom, Universal Ink VOD Deals

8 Nov, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

Comcast and CBS will make four of CBS' leading prime-time entertainment series available for viewers to watch at their convenience.

CBS, in partnership with Comcast, is the first broadcast network to offer its most coveted primetime programming through VOD with a cable provider. Meanwhile NBC went the satellite route, offering its top shows on demand from DirecTV.

Disney earlier announced a deal that makes episodes of its top dramas, "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives," available on Apple's iTunes Web store.

Starting next month, Comcast Digital Cable customers in markets served by CBS owned-and-operated television stations will be able to see episodes of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "NCIS," "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" on Comcast's On Demand service for 99 cents per 24-hour window. Episodes will be available as early as midnight following their broadcast on the CBS television network.

"Video-on-demand has fundamentally changed the way people watch TV, and now for the first time the most popular prime-time CBS programming will be available to our customers," said Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast Corp. "CBS has taken a giant step forward in experimenting with prime- time video on demand. Comcast's On Demand service has been tremendously successful, with more than one billion program views so far this year."

NBC's multi-year agreement will give DirecTV Plus DVR customers access to NBC Universal TV programs, such as "Law & Order: SVU," "Law & Order: CI," "The Office," "Monk," "Surface" and "Battlestar Galactica" for 99 cents each. The programs will be available until the following week's episode airs. NBC Universal's movies and TV events will also be available through DirecTV Plus, and on pay-per-view (PPV).

"We are thrilled to be able to make some of the best and most watched programs in all of television, both network and cable, even more readily available to viewers," said Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Universal Television Group. "We are extremely aware that viewers can't always watch these programs when they're originally scheduled, and this will give them far more control over when they're able to see these shows."

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