NBC Universal said Tuesday it will sell episodes of its new fall television shows using Amazon’s Unbox digital download service, after the network failed to reach an agreement with Apple Inc. last week to offer the shows on iTunes.
Amazon.com Inc. and NBC Universal said that episodes of programs such as “The Office” and “Heroes” are currently available for $1.99 on Unbox, and that new episodes will be added to the site they day after they air. Customers will be able to buy an entire season of a show once.
Free pilot episodes of NBC’s new fall shows, such as “Bionic Woman” and “Chuck,” will appear starting Sept. 10.
The NBC content can be played, without commercials, on the computer screen, or on a TV through a Web-enabled TiVo set-top box.
On Friday, Apple said it will not sell any of NBC’s programs for this fall season on iTunes. NBC and Apple have a contract that expires at the end of the year; Apple said NBC wanted to raise the prices for its content, a claim NBC has denied.
NBC Universal, which is majority owned by General Electric Co., has said it wants to package programming in different ways at different prices, something Amazon is willing to consider, according to Jean-Briac Perrette, president of NBC Universal’s digital distribution division.
(MSNBC.com is a Microsoft-NBC Universal joint venture.)
In an interview, Perrette said NBC Universal might like to sell single episodes of two different shows together, for example, or let customers who have already purchased several episodes buy a full season at a prorated price.