Tuesday, December 16, 2014

NBC Playing Nice With Corporate Parent

While CBS seeks to drive additional revenue through a subscription digital network service, NBC Broadcasting has chosen a different route.  Perhaps it is due to NBC being owned by a cable operator, but it also aligns both the programmer and distributor to the same synergistic goals, driving total revenue by backing an authenticated TV Everywhere platform. 

According to today's Wall Street Journal, "NBC is launching a live stream of its broadcast network, part of a broader effort at parent NBCUniversal to make more of its content available online via computers and mobile devices."  Not too many details in the article, notably if the signal will correlate to the subscribers home geography and its affiliates signal, or simply a national feed of the network.  And likely, there will be shows blacked out, including Sunday Night Football and other possible exclusions.  Other questions are whether it is just a live linear feed or if there will also be an on demand component.

Still, despite limited details, the approach by NBC clearly takes into account its parent company, Comcast Cable.  Requiring access to authenticated cable subscribers means added value to cable and an attempt to stop or slow down the rate of cord cutting.  Rather than be a revenue creator like the CBS or even HBO GO models, NBC is supporting the broader cable revenue model with hopefully greater total returns.

As to the marketing of the new authenticated service, NBC doesn't seem to like the TV Everywhere tag.  I agree.  It is reminiscent of the challenges that have plagued cable with the on demand tag being used in so many places it lost any traction with the cable brand.  But I'm not sold on “Watch TV Without the TV" either.  In a world of initials, perhaps branding it as "TVE" might be an interesting way to brand the digital feed of all its networks.  Brainstorming other phrases like Digital Broadcast (Cable) Everywhere.  Still, slowly but surely, TV Everywhere will one day become commonplace.