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CES 2011: NBC Digital Model

NBC circa 1956
NBC circa 1956

As part of the Media Money Makers program track, I sat in on a quick presentation from some familiar faces: the NBC.com executive team. The “From Broadband to Big Time: The NBC Digital Model” presentation from Vivi Zigler (President, NBCU Digital Entertainment), Steve Andrade (GM and SVP, Digital Development, NBC.com), and Nick Johnson (VP, Digital Media Sales, NBCU) touched on several popular campaigns with shows & sponsors in 2010.

The Microsoft sponsorship of the School Pride webisodes let people nominate local schools to win a computer lab makeover with Windows 7. The HP sponsorship of The Office social challenge had fans display a show-themed posted in their office to earn Fan It points (which can then be redeemed for physical & virtual goods). The Bud Light sponsorship of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon centered on the world premiere telecast of “Stones in Exile” documentary and exclusive Rolling Stones content on the Fallon website. The Turbo Tax sponsorship was a cross-platform social media play that has occurred for three straight years and included on-air vignettes, custom expert guides, sweepstakes and a live treasure hunt. The Dove sponsorship of the Good2Go mobile campaign reached across several NBCUniversal sites, generates awareness of the Dove “go fresh” brand message and creates engagement with busy moms on the go with continually updated content.

They keep content and sponsorships relevant and meaningful to their users by reading show scripts in advance to identify potential integrations, they work with digital agencies outside of the Upfront to see what they’d like to see included. NBC.com owns the content created for advertisers (eg. webisodes), all NBCU brands have significant digital teams, and some brands come to them while others they search out highlighting the solutions NBC.com offers. All in all, a quick and interesting insight into how they interact with major advertisers and how that affects their planning and strategies for their year. Let’s see what they come back with at CES 2012 in terms of success in 2011!

Many thanks to NBCU for the opportunity to be here in Vegas, I hope to post again this weekend with some additional company & product reviews.

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CES 2011: Social TV

CES 2011
CES 2011

Friday’s day-long panel discussion track continued with the Social Television – The Merger of Content, Social Interaction and the Video Platforms panel. The panel was moderated by Richard Sussman (VP of Digital Entertainment, The Nielsen Company) and included
Michael Kernan (Chief Executive Officer, NuMedia Studios), Greg March (Director of Digital Media, Weiden + Kennedy), Raviv Moore (VP Business Development, Eyecon Technologies), Marty Roberts (Vice President of Sales and Marketing, ThePlatform), Christy Tanner (General Manager, TVGuide.com), Matt Wasserlauf (CEO, BBE), and Gayle Weiswasser (VP, Social Media Communications, Discovery Communications) as panelists.

We’re seeing the formation of telecommunities with viewers chatting while watching and even seeing some networks work it into their broadcast with Fox’s Fringe as a prime example. One in ten watched the 2010 Oscars while on the internet, but there are issues if you have to pause to take care of the kids and then jump to live to get caught up with the group instead of watching linearly.

Discovery saw 14,000 users for a live chat during an east coast airing and 5,000 during a west coast airing of Captain Phil’s farewell from Deadliest Catch. Along with the viewer participation, they saw 135,000 page views and 15,000 comments during the live chats while the live broadcast of the episode on July 13th, 2010 garnered 8.5 million viewers and was the #1 show on cable that night for men & women aged 25-54. In terms of the differential between east & west Coast, they felt that many west coasters tuned in to the east coast broadcast.

In October 2010 Discovery added GetGlue stickers and saw 1,400 get the MythBusters premiere sticker with a potential social media reach of 1 million users. If viewers continued to view the live episodes on Wednesday, they were able to unlock additional stickers. In under three months of check-ins, there were 38,000 for MythBusters 12,000 for Sarah Palin and 10,000 for Storm Chasers. Discovery Super Fans get a discount code to use at the Discovery Store online by checking into a show five or more times. They’ve also added the check-in widget to select fan sites to help spread the word about the program.

Eyecon provides software to allow consumers to discover media more efficiently. thePlatform is a video management system that allows publishers to take their content to different destinations. They can work with content providers and video sites to build in ads to roll on embeded clips as well as ensure specific hashtags appear when something is retweeted.

NuMedia Studios partners with advertisers and talent to create content for web and TV. Recently they launched AssCastles.com with FunnyOrDie.com and sold the show to VH1 as a smart comedy tv show. It had 57,000 views and 2,000 comments in four days after launch.

Specific Media acquired BBE to bring together display and video. Their video is targetable and more than 10 billion US impressions and 1.9 billion video streams monthly. Mom Life was a 2010 Webby winner with 52 million unique users for season one & two, 100 million web streams with the twenty five episodes integrating 40+ brands.

TV Guide focuses on original content, linear TV listings grid, and full episodes from networks, cablers and web outfits. They have 23 million unique users, iPad/iPhone/Android apps, 300,000 fans of their pages (tv shows, movies, celebs), syndicate to mobile/YahooTV/OMG, and launched check-ins for tv shows on their site in October under the moniker of “I’ll Watch”. They’ve noticed that their top twenty checkin shows don’t match the top shows according to Nielsen or fan page counts. The Glee Christmas episode was #1, but #7 was It’s A Wonderful Life and Sons of Anarchy was in the top twenty.

In general in social TV and online video the advertisers set the KPIs while on TV its GRP. Any way to record fans is beneficial (eg., unlocking special content). Vindico provides an ad serving system that can help with this. Measurement online as a whole is a disaster, meanwhile TV has a digestible metric in GRP. Online doesn’t have a common vocabulary for metrics. Across both platforms (TV & online) we need to measure live, DVR, on demand & online to get a true idea of ratings. Comcast wants to allow subscribers to watch their on demand library online and then take the ability to watch to mobile devices as well.

Many thanks to NBCU for the opportunity to be here in Vegas, I hope to keep posting this weekend with additional company & product reviews as well as panel session updates.

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Hulk Hogan & NBC Grant My Wish

It was only a few days ago that I wished that someone bring back the retro sports show American Gladiators. Well, apparently someone at NBC (and in reality it was at Reveille) thought the same thing. Thanks to Ben Silverman, NBC is working on a mid-season show hosted by Mr. Hulkamania that will pit your average Joe against the beefed up gladiators.

No word on whether Gemini, Nitro, Sabre, Siren, or Zap will reprise their rolls from the original series. Rumors are swirling that Brian Bosworth, Ickey Woods, Bo Jackson, Kerri Walsh and Serena Williams will appear on the show further extending their sports careers.

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Knight Rider & NBC Team Up For Retro-Awesomeness

Knight Rider and NBC Retro-Awesomeness

Word broke this week that NBC is in the works to produce a remake of the 80’s classic Knight Rider show. Not much information is available except to say that The Hoff won’t leading this version and that KITT will have Transformers capabilities (i.e., will be able to change its shape).

While I LOVE the Knight Rider remake idea (uh, hello A Team remake?), I’m not sure how I feel about the conceptual merge with Transformers. I think someone thought a bit too far outside the box on that one; I’m sure the same exec wanted to do a Strawberry Shortcake remake/remix with Jem & The Misfits.

Oh, and while I’m on the topic of retro-awesome shows that need a modern comeback touch (a la Knight Rider) I must mention American Gladiators. I can just see Mark Burnett remixing that show with Survivor, awesometown!

Hello NBC & News Corp, Hulu… Seriously?

NBC Universal (my employer) and News Corp (aka Fox) formed a partnership early this year (aka NewsSite) and have finally given the site a name… Hulu. You heard me correct, Hulu. Well, I won’t poke too much fun a the nonsensical name, but for now all the site shows is a form to signup to be in the beta test. No videos, no movies, just a billboard. I’ll just have to sit here with my hands on over my mouth (to keep from laughing at the name) and wait until there’s actual content on the site.

As a side note, for those of you wondering if “hulu” is an actual word or not… it is. Its the Chinese name for one of the first cultivated plants in the world, grown not for food but as a container. What is the English name of this plant? Well, since you asked I’ll tell you. Calabash. And get this, NBC & Fox will have their videos, movies, etc. hosted on a website named after a plant that natives in West Papua, New Guinea dry into a gourd and use as a traditional penis covering that they call a koteka.

Wonderful work Marketing & PR folks. I can’t wait to watch videos on my penis gourd.

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Keith Olbermann’s Back In Sports!

The top notch publication that is The Baltimore Sun has reported that Keith Olbermann will be getting back into the sports TV journalism business. when he reports as part of the NBC Sunday Night Football pregame program, Football Night in America. Mr. Olbermann currently hosts Countdown on MSNBC and appears on the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio, but this will be his triumphant return to TV sports journalism since he left Fox Sports in 2001.

I think this is a great way for NBC to leverage Keith’s previous sports journalism experience and improve their SNF programming with his creativity, wit, and general ability to speak his mind (when many are too afraid to say what they’re thinking).

Great work NBC and good luck Keith!

Olbermann on “Fightin Whities”