Fans of NBC’s "Meet the Press" and the "NBC Nightly News" will now be able to download the shows for free as video podcasts from iTunes. While NBC has previously provided audio podcasts and streams of ad-supported video for both shows on MSNBC’s website, this will mark the first time that they will be available as full video downloads.
Both shows will be available on iTunes almost immediately after their airings on the west coast and at the same time that they show up on MSNBC’s website—"NBC Nightly News" daily at 10pm EST and "Meet the Press" at 1pm EST on Sundays. "NBC Nightly News" will show up on iTunes starting tonight, and presumably "Meet the Press" will join in tomorrow for its first video podcast. MSNBC’s deputy editor Randy Stearns told Reuters that "it makes sense to provide the content to viewers in whatever format they prefer," adding that he still believes that on-demand, ad-supported streaming video is what most users really want.
"NBC Nightly News" will mark the first full evening newscast available for download on iTunes, although ABC News started offering 15-minute "World News Now" podcasts on iTunes in January and the "CBS Evening News" is simulcasted on the web. It’s unclear, however, whether "NBC Nightly News" and "Meet the Press" video podcasts will be ad-free like much of the other content on iTunes—when viewing both on the web, the user is required to watch a commercial first and there are other ads on the page around the video.
Will iTunes users start watching NBC’s newscasts in droves, or perhaps start toting them around on their iPods? We’re not sure, but being the only full newscast available for download might sway at least a few potential viewers over to NBC’s side. If NBC sees any success with this video podcast venture, it’s likely that we’ll see other news networks follow NBC’s footsteps.