A weeklong afterlife for NBC shows

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NEW YORK -- NBC will make episodes of its programs available for download on its Web site for one week after their original broadcast, the network said Wednesday.

It's NBC Uni's latest move to make its content available online following a public pre-Labor Day dispute with Apple over pricing and bundling on its iTunes platform. After the network decided not to renew its contract with Apple, which runs out in December, the company said new NBC content will not be available at the iTunes Store when the fall season starts (HR 9/3).

The new initiative, dubbed NBC Direct, will start in beta in October and will make episodes available for download from NBC.com on Windows-based PCs. Once downloaded, the content will be encrypted so that it can't be viewed more than a week after the first network airing.

A mix of veteran and new shows will be available at launch: "Heroes," "The Office," "30 Rock," "Friday Night Lights," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "Life" and "Bionic Woman."

NBC said it would expand the initiative in the next several months to include DRM-protected episodes compatible with Macs and portable devices and a peer-to-peer distribution network. The network said that, it would provide further business models in 2008, including download-to-own, rental and subscription.

NBC fall content also will be available for purchase through Amazon.com's Unbox and streaming at NBC.com.
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