November 10 2007

NBC Shows Total Disrespect To The Writers

NBC Direct LogoI couldn’t believe this when I saw this today.

An instant message came in of breaking news (well… breaking news to techies) that NBC Direct had finally launched. Since only those in the USA can use it, and I was the only US based writer on at the time, I got the assignment to cover it.

What the service does is allow you to download NBC shows shortly after they air, and once you start watching the video, you have 48 hours to keep it. You can renew the video for up to seven days after the show aired, and then it is no longer available at all.

I had to download the player to try it out, and I was constantly shown Bertolli frozen dinner ads. They were shown before the video, during the video, and there was a static ad in the player the entire time I had it open.

This is exactly the sort of thing the writers are fighting for. As it currently stands they make $0 from that video play, but NBC is collecting advertising revenue from it. They ask that the writers understand this is all in the name of “promotion”. Funny, when ever my business has done a promotion, it’s cost us money, we haven’t collected money for it. Very odd.

So why is this total disrespect in my opinion? This service was originally scheduled to launch in October, but it got pushed back for undisclosed reasons, and instead, it launches… during the writers strike? Does it really feel like you should do more of the very thing the writers are complaining about DURING the strike? I would hate to think this was a calculated move on NBC’s part, I woul rather chalk it up to careless thinking, but somehow my gut tells me it was the former.

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