The New York Times reports that NBC Universal, acknowledging that viewers are increasingly moving away from traditional television viewing, just announced plans for a service that will make popular NBC shows available to download free to personal computers and other devices.
This is the result of NBC Universal backing out of its contract with Apple to sell shows for a fixed price of $1.99 each.
The article reports that the new NBC Direct service will launch a trial in October and be widely available by November.
Meanwhile, by mid-2008, NBC also plans to sell episodes with varying prices. These purchases will let the consumers own them, without commercials, and allow consumers to copy them between devices. “We did this to eliminate the middleman,” said Jeff Gaspin, the president of NBC’s digital division, in the article.
Now comes the hard part: convincing folks to go to many different portals to buy the shows they want, all with different prices, file formats, and restrictions, instead of being able to do it all in one place and format like the iTunes Store.