After very publicly pulling it shows from Apple’s iTunes store last August in a dispute over pricing and bundling, U.S. broadcast network NBC has been partnering with all sorts of digital media outlets to make sure its viewers can get online versions of its shows: in addition to offering shows on its own site and via the Hulu partnership with Fox, the company is offering shows via Amazon Unbox and (most recently) via Netflix. Now, the company has found another outlet for its programming: SanDisk’s forthcoming Fanfare digital video download service.
Fanfare is a video download service explicitly designed to support SanDisk’s TakeTV Video Player; the service is currently available in beta form and also features programming from premium cable network Showtime and CBS. The deal will see NBC broadcast properties like Heroes,The Office, and 30 Rock available via Fanfare, along with shows from NBC properties like Sci-Fi, USA, NBC Sports, NBC News, Telemundo, and Bravo.
“Our viewers now have another innovative way to enjoy NBCU’s first-rate broadcast and cable content whenever and wherever they choose with Fanfare and Sansa TakeTV,” said Perrette. “SanDisk is taking a leadership position within the consumer electronics industry with its commitment to protecting content, which marks an important advance for television entertainment in the digital landscape.”
The deal also has SanDisk working wit NBC to explore new anti-piracy technologies, including digital watermarking (perhaps like the system being promoted by Nielsen and Digimarc). The companies also plan to collaborate in new “consumer content acquisition models,” including variable pricing and packaging—exactly the concessions NBC couldn’t get from Apple. NBC says it plans to offer deals like multi-episode discounts and incentives to purchase bundles of different TV shows at the same time.