NBC logs skein on iTunes

In a network first, NBC is making the pilot episode of its new Dick Wolf drama, “Conviction,” available as a free download — two weeks before the show bows on TV.

Apple added the “Conviction” pilot to its iTunes musicstore early Tuesday morning, packaging the seg with several bonus features, including a making-of featurette and a show-related musicvideo from the Gabe Dixon Band.

Peacock is not the first net to allow potential viewers to watch a show online before its TV premiere. UPN’s “Everybody Hates Chris” bowed on Google, and the WB’s “Jack and Bobby” was first seen on AOL.

The difference: “Chris” and “Bobby” were available only as streaming video, which meant consumers could watch the shows online — but didn’t own them. In the case of “Conviction,” iTunes users who download the episode will own it outright.

While NBC’s move would have been unthinkable even six months ago, it now seems almost a no-brainer.

Peacock, after all, saw positive results when fans began distributing copies of the SNL short “Lazy Sunday” over the Net. NBC quickly responded by making the short available as a free iTunes download for several weeks, pushing buzz for the sketch — and “SNL” — into overdrive.

Late last year, NBC U also used iTunes to give away a free 30-minute preview special hyping the new season of Sci Fi’s “Battlestar Galactica.”

As with other shows, NBC will sell future episodes of “Conviction” on iTunes for $1.99 the day after they air.

Separately, ABC has added “America’s Funniest Home Videos” to its offerings on iTunes.

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