Announced last week, NBC brought an update to its iPad application which allows users to watch ad-supported episodes of 28 popular NBC shows including The Office, Community, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, America’s Got Talent, Chuck, 30 Rock and The Biggest Loser. Oddly, this eliminates a reason for iPad owners to subscribe to Hulu Plus, the streaming video company that’s partly owned by NBCUniversal and currently up for sale to the highest bidder. ABC has been streaming full-length episodes to iPad owners since April 2010 and CBS currently streams selected full episodes to iPhone / iPod touch owners.
This leaves Fox as the only network holding out on delivering its own streaming video app to the iOS platform. Fox recently imposed a eight-day viewing window on streaming episodes of recently Fox shows, but did make shows available 24 hours after airing to subscribers of Hulu Plus. While consumers will likely love free access to NBC’s lineup, analysts are critical of the strategy as it undercuts NBC’s ability to create lucrative syndication deals with the episodes.
In addition to the NBC app, Turner Broadcasting also recently released iPad applications to access content on the TNT and TBS networks. However, these applications require the user to log into the app with satellite or cable account information. The applications are compatible with Verizon, Comcast, Dish Network, DirecTV, Cox, SuddenLink, Optimum and AT&T U-Verse. Strangely, the application isn’t compatible with Time Warner, the parent company of Turner Broadcasting. The TNT application offers full streaming episodes of shows like The Closer, Men of a Certain Age, Falling Skies, Franklin & Bash and Leverage as well as a smattering of TNT movies. The TBS application allows consumers to watch recent episodes of Conan as well as shows in syndication like The Office, My Name is Earl and Seinfeld.