A system and method are disclosed for facilitating fast-forwarding by viewers through a first-run program beyond the current broadcast point. In one embodiment, the first-run program is distributed before its scheduled publication time, and may be viewed at any time after the publication time. In a second embodiment, content is distributed on or after the publication time, but at a rate greater than the normal viewing rate. In a third embodiment, content is distributed on demand after the publication time by a media distribution server. In a fourth embodiment, a viewer participating in a multicast session of the content requests content beyond the current broadcast point. The viewer is switched to a unicast session, and the requested content is transmitted to the viewer. In alternative embodiments, a release code may be provided to control the time after which the viewer will be permitted to view program segments beyond the current broadcast point.
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