NBC UNIVERSAL TO OFFER TV SHOWS ON ITUNES

Follows ABC, CBS Into Model to Charge Viewers for Programs

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a widely anticipated move, NBC Universal will make available a raft of TV series from its flagship broadcast network as well as from cable networks USA and Sci Fi through Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store service.
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Prime-time series
Under the NBC Universal/Apple deal, NBC Universal will make available for download several series, including “Law & Order,” “The Office,” “Surface,” “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and “Late Night With Conan O'Brien.” Cable series included in the deal are “Battlestar Galactica” and “Monk.” In addition, NBC Universal will make available classic series including “Adam-12,” “Dragnet” and “Knight Rider.”

As with the ABC deal, the newest episodes will be available a day after they air on their respective network. The price per download is $1.99.

The latest iTunes alliance comes nearly two months after Walt Disney Co.’s ABC struck a landmark deal with Apple to offer two of its most popular series, “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost,” for download on iTunes.

Distribution deals
Since then a torrent of alternative distribution deals have been announced, including Web-based delivery, mobile phone delivery and unique video-on-demand initiatives. NBC Universal jumped into the fray by striking a VOD deal with satellite operator DirecTV to make episodes of several programs available on subscribers' digital video recorders.

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Jay Sherman is a reporter for Crain Communications’ Television Week.

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