NBC UNIVERSAL TO OFFER TV, MOVIES ON FILE-SHARING SERVICE

First Time a Broadcaster Aligns With Legal Peer-to-Peer Site

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- NBC Universal will start to offer TV content and Universal movies and through Peer Impact, a legal peer-to-peer file-sharing service, as the media giant continues its strategy of offering content through a variety of distribution channels.

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It’s the first time a media company has struck a content deal with a peer-to-peer file-sharing service.

24-hour playback window
Under the terms of the alliance with Peer Impact parent Wurld Media, Universal films including “Ray,” “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “Meet the Fockers,” along with special editions of syndicated TV content such as “Jerry Springer: Uncensored” and “Blind Date,” will be made available for Peer Impact members to download and play back on their computers for a fee. Users will have a 24-hour window within which to watch the movie once they hit the play button.

The price per film has yet to be set by Peer Impact, but a source said the cost to customers should be on par with what other Web-based video streaming partnerships charge -- between $3 and $4 per movie.

NBC Universal and Wurld Media will split the revenue generated by the alliance, but NBCU declined to disclose financial terms of the deal.

Users can't burn downloads
As part of the arrangement, Peer Impact users will also store the video files on their computer hard drives for 30 days to enable other Peer Impact members to download the rather large video files more quickly. Users willing to store files on their computers will earn perks. However, Peer Impact will retain control of the files and users will not be able to access them for additional viewings after they've watched the movie the first time. Further, users won't be able to burn those files onto other devices or onto compact discs or DVDs.

NBC Universal said the films will be made available on the Peer Impact service during the same window that films are made available for video-on-demand or pay-per-view.

The alliance is the latest in a string of deals being struck by large media companies as the entertainment industry scrambles to take advantage of the increased ubiquity of broadband Internet connections, the proliferation of portable devices that can play video content and increased demand from consumers to view content on an on-demand basis.

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Jay Sherman is a reporter at Television Week.

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