Cox Scores Free NBC Universal VOD Content

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Cox Communications cut a deal with NBC Universal that will allow the cable TV operator to offer five NBC primetime shows for free to its video on demand customers, including 30 Rock and Bionic Woman.

Cox, which described the agreement as a “trial offer,” said it will also offer VOD customers in Orange County and Palos Verdes, Calif., free access to Friday Night Lights, Las Vegas and new series Life.

The five NBC programs will be available to Cox customers the day after they premiere on NBC.

The agreement is noteworthy, since most broadcast networks have declined to allow cable operators to distribute VOD content for free to their subscribers. The deal is also similar to a deal Cox struck with ESPN and ABC Television Group in May.

In October 2006, NBC cut a deal with Cablevision Systems, which saw the cable operator sell episodes of Friday Night Lights and other primetime series to VOD subscribers for 95 cents apiece.

Comcast struck an agreement with NBC rival CBS about a month later, agreeing to allow the nation’s largest cable operator to offer free episodes of Survivor and other primetime hits to subscribers the day after their premiere on CBS. Those shows included spots from General Motors.

Cox and NBC said they will disable the fast-forward functionality in the free Peacock Network programming, which will prevent viewers from skipping the commercials.

The series premieres of Bionic Woman (9 p.m. ET) and Life (10 p.m. ET) will air on NBC on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Other premieres include Las Vegas (Friday, Sept. 28 at 9 p.m. ET); 30 Rock (Thursday, Oct. 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET); and Friday Night Lights (Friday, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. ET).

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