With Netflix, NBC U Tests Subscription Model

Thanks to NBC U Domestic Television sales chief Frances Manfredi, we understand a bit more about the rationale for the Netflix deal. To recap, the deal puts new episodes of Heroes on Netflix’s online service the day after they air on NBC. The difference between the Netflix offering and the one on Hulu? Netflix costs money, but its online shows don’t have commercials. Hulu is free, but has unskippable (and annoying) commercials.

“Our strategy as a company is to a ubiquitous offering to the consumer,” Manfredi says. “The coexistence of Netflix with Hulu.com is the coexistence of two business models (subscription and ad-supported) that we support.”

The reason NBC U was able to make this deal with Netflix is it just sold Heroes into off-net syndication to G4 and Mojo, but it did not sell video-on-demand rights. Those went to Netflix.

Other shows involved in the deal were 30 Rock, Friday Night Lights and The Office, but those will only be episodes from past seasons. 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights haven’t sold into syndication. The Office just sold to TBS for $650,000 an episode.

Rather than a template, the Heroes-Netflix deal was more of a one-off. Presumably in a year or so, NBC U will know if either model–subscription or ad-supported streaming–is successful. Or, if both need a re-think.

Earlier: NBC U Pacts With Netflix for Heroes

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