NBC Gets Smart About Online Video

What Everyone Is Talking About

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- After NBC became the poster child for old-media-that-just-doesn't-get-the-newfangled-web-thing, the Peacock network has of late proved that it's one dog that can be taught. Since February, when NBC infamously sicced its corporate lawyers on YouTube to get the video-sharing site to take down a popular "Saturday Night Live" skit, "Lazy Sunday," the folks at NBC have seen the digital light.
NBC is posting 'The Office: The Accountants' webisodes every Thursday.
NBC is posting 'The Office: The Accountants' webisodes every Thursday.

The network has figured out that viral video can be a great way to promote its shows, and reach out to a young demo that abandoned the network once long-running sitcom "Friends" went off the air. So not only has it struck a deal with YouTube in which it will promote the site in exchange for the site posting video from NBC shows; it's also figured out that its own site can be used as a place to get people to sample its shows.

Leading the digital charge is "The Office." NBC is now posting webisodes every Thursday that go way beyond tune-in ads. "The Office: The Accountants" webisodes actually are a complete sub-storyline about the accounting department trying to track down a missing $3,000 from company funds. It's even running a contest on YouTube where users can create their own "Office" promos and submit them. As of this morning, a search for "office promo" yields 129 videos.

And all of NBC's new shows, such as "30 Rock" and "Friday Night Lights," offer previews online. Now today comes the news that NBC has yet another sampling plan in mind: Netflix. USA Today reports that the network will make free copies of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" and "Kidnapped" available to the DVD rental service's 4.8 million subscribers.

Good Peacock.
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