Video iTunes Boosts NBC, ABC

    January 17, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

$1.99 downloads of recent episodes of shows like “The Office,” “Lost,” and “Desperate Housewives” may have led to ratings gains for all three programs.

The death of television at the hands of the Internet isn’t happening. In fact, the online world has been a boost to a couple of traditional networks. TelevisionWeek cited higher ratings for three programs, with credit given to Apple’s iTunes for the increase.

NBC and ABC owe Steve Jobs a Valentine’s Day card. For NBC, its comedy “The Office” has been the most popular of NBC’s programming available on iTunes. The January 12th showing of the series scored a 5.1 rating in the 18-49 age demographic, the highest ever for the show the report said.

Both of ABC’s top programs, “Lost,” and “Desperate Housewives,” have jumped in the ratings compared to the same time last year, ever since the launch of the video iPod. Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger, whose company owns ABC, stood alongside Steve Jobs at the video iPod launch; ABC’s two hit shows became the first network programs offered on iTunes.

Instead of stealing ratings from the networks, online availability appears to have enhanced those ratings. Although it is too soon to link iTunes downloads and ratings directly, the article does state how the ratings rose as download numbers increased for the three shows.

Both networks made their programming available in the hopes of drawing more interest in their programs. Video iTunes gave the networks another outlet to reach potential viewers who may not otherwise tune in. “Consumers have choices, and we are not reaching all consumers with one technology,” Frederick Huntsberry, president of NBCU Television Distribution, said in the report.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.