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NBC U 'Peers' Into Future

NBC Universal, with the help of Wurld Media, is embracing peer-to-peer networking to help deliver movie content over the Internet. Peer-to-peer networking is one of the more controversial means of Internet content distribution as it lets PC users form file-sharing networks in which a piece of content can be passed from one computer to another as long as they are on the network.

“My first reaction to peer-to-peer was this was something we wouldn’t play in,” says David Zaslav, NBC Universal Cable president. “We want to be on ever distribution platform but we also need to protect our content. Wurld Media gives us the advantage of a protected environment that can also speed up the amount of time it takes to download a file.”

Wurld Media’s system is called Peer Impact and is an application that sits on the users computer and lets them download a file from multiple computers at once. So instead of waiting a couple of hours for a movie to be downloaded via one connection the user can tap into multiple connections and get content five or six times more quickly.

“We want to see how consumers react to this,” says Zaslav. Expect NBC Universal VOD content to be available as well as certain “TV events.” There are no current plans to offer NBC prime time series over the system.