LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - A pair of separate deals announced Monday between CBS and Comcast, as well as NBC Universal and DirecTV, soon will allow viewers to pay to watch current primetime broadcast hits just hours after they air for free.
CBS and NBC will be charging 99 cents per episode to access such series as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and the "Law & Order" spinoffs putting a twist on the traditional TV business model that will have untold implications for industry sectors ranging from affiliates to advertisers for years to come.
While unprecedented in the multichannel world, the new window became a hot commodity once Apple Computer Inc. and Walt Disney Co. made series programming like "Lost" available on video iPods last month. Having missed the first wave in the sea change transforming how viewers watch TV, Monday's deals are probably just the first of many that will put programming on as many different screens as possible, including mobile phones.
"As with the Disney iPod deal, I think this deal is symbolic of the new age," said Leslie Moonves, co-president and chief operating officer of Viacom Inc. and chairman of CBS.