EXEC VP-NBC DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT AND NEW MEDIA, NBC UNIVERSAL
|Photo: Paul Drinkwater|
Now video on NBC.com is easy to find, and it plays smoothly. That's because Vivi Zigler, exec VP-NBC digital entertainment and new media, has reshaped the website as a vital destination for visitors and an important new viewing venue for NBC shows.
In the past year, the staff for NBC.com grew from less than 10 to more than 50. The website now includes full episodes of nearly all NBC shows, as well as behind-the-scenes clips, deleted scenes, trailers, promos and other short videos. This summer, NBC will launch original webisodes of "Heroes," "Chuck" and "The Office," as well as the original digital show "Fears, Secrets & Desires." The site also includes games, trivia and a social network for "The Office."
NBC's show runners say digital extensions have been instrumental in spreading the reach of their programs. "These new platforms have provided us with a unique opportunity to introduce 'Heroes' fans to a more in-depth experience of story lines, character backgrounds, web comics, behind-the-scenes studies, and cast and crew insight that have put us at the forefront of the new way people are looking at television," says Tim Kring, executive producer and creator of "Heroes."
Fine-tuning its site has helped NBC lure online advertisers. Digital ad sales this year will grow by more than 20%, the network says.
This spring, NBC.com launched a new digital unit, NBC Digital Studio, to develop web series with brands built in from the start. Omnicom Group's OMG Digital is onboard as an initial partner.
"Product placement isn't about putting a Coke can on a table. Maybe a fruit juice is looking to be used in recipes, but maybe the cooler version is to build out a web series with your friends building their own restaurant," says Ms. Zigler, an NBC Universal veteran who took on her new-media post in 2006. "You have things you might not think about, like our out-of-home network, video screens in elevators, taxicabs, in stadiums. ... Each property will have its own unique distribution plan."
In the year ahead, Ms. Zigler, 48, will also focus on growing mobile distribution, building out Facebook applications and developing new widgets for shows that other sites and blogs can embed. In the first three months of this year, NBC's widgets generated 15.4 million impressions, a 15% rise over a year ago. Most widgets are ad-supported.