NBC and CBS Ready to Challenge iTunes

NBC and CBS are following ABC and entering into the video download market, according to the New York Times. Unlike ABC, however, the other two networks are not teaming up with Apple to make their programming available online. Instead, the networks will sell their 99 cent programs through video-on-demand services on cable and satellite systems.

The programs will be commercial free, just like the shows that are available on the iTunes Music Store (iTMS). CBS plans on making CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NCIS, Survivor, and The Amazing Race available. NBC will include Law & Order: SVU and The Office, along with Monk from USA Network, and Battlestar Galactica from the Sci-Fi Channel.

Availability to the shows, however, will be limited. None of the programming will be available to affiliate stations because of concerns over potentially lost revenue. The shows wonit download to your computer, either. Instead, the programming will be accessed through a pay-per-view type system.

Compared to the iTMS model, where users purchase the programs they want, CBS and NBC are following a model more like Napster, where users rent the programming. ABC and Disney are betting that viewers would rather purchase and keep the programs they want, while CBS and NBC are betting that viewers will prefer pay-per-view programming.

The music subscription services arenit performing as well as the iTMS, so it will be interesting to see if consumers are more willing to use this model with videos than they are with music.