In September, NBC announced that come this fall they would launch a new service, named NBC Direct, that would enable viewers to watch some of NBC’s top TV shows as ad-supported downloads. While NBC plans to use many platforms to make their content available including iTunes, the move by NBC is essentially driven by the desire to cut out the middle man and deal directly with the viewer.
While most details surrounding the service have not yet been disclosed, three companies have been working together to build the NBC Direct service. ExtendMedia is doing the interface, YuMe is providing the advertising platform and Pando Networks has been chosen as the P2P technology of choice. When contacted last night, executives at Pando Networks would not comment for me on their involvement, but others I have spoken to have confirmed that after a long evaluation of various P2P networks by NBC, Pando has won the business.
When NBC Direct launches out of Beta, this will be the first major TV network in the U.S. to adopt P2P and make it such a crucial part of their distribution strategy. I know some will say Joost is already doing this and the BBC has been doing it for awhile but they don’t count in my eyes, for obvious reasons. The NBC Direct service will bring a lot of exposure to P2P and will help to legitimize P2P as a solution for some, not all, kinds of video delivery. NBC won’t be using P2P exclusively and as anyone who truly understands the value of P2P will tell you, it’s not a replacement for other distribution platforms but rather a compliment or enhancement.
For Pando Network’s it’s a big win and should lead to other major broadcasters and content companies giving them and other P2P platforms a legitimate shot at solving their video distribution needs. 2008 is shaping up to be the "perfect storm" for the video delivery segment of this industry.
Two weeks ago, I interviewed Yaron Samid, the Co-Founder and CMO of Pando Networks from the Streaming Media West show and discussed the current hurdles in the P2P industry and what role Pando Networks is looking to play in the market. (apologies on my audio levels as I was battling a cold)