Hot List: Brian Buchwald
Name: Brian Buchwald
Title: Senior VP, local integrated media, NBC
Big Break: Because he was named to the NBC Affiliate Futures Committee in early 2006, Mr. Buchwald was able to co-found the NBC broadband syndication marketplace that jumpstarted NBC’s efforts in digital video syndication and online video advertising marketplaces.
Who Knew?: His happily married parents met as pages at 30 Rock in 1965.
At NBC, Brian Buchwald is responsible for reinventing what it means for local TV stations to be on the Web. He’s done well so far: the relaunch of NBC’s 10 owned station sites last fall has resulted in a tripling of Web traffic for those sites. As the senior VP of local integrated media at NBC, he’s about to shepherd yet another overhaul to grow them even more.
Keeping a local TV station relevant is no easy task in this economy; plus TV stations are faced with bigger issues of shrinking audiences and revenues as viewers defect to the Web. NBC’s solution has been to move onto the Web in a way that meets the new generation’s goals.
In November, NBC rebranded the station sites as “locals only” to focus less on the broadcast station programming and more on the cities they serve. That included adding more content on local culture, politics and media and incorporating reports from bloggers and thought leaders in each market, Mr. Buchwald explained.
Mr. Buchwald also led the effort to hire a team of 60 while lowering costs 30% by bringing the Web site technology in house. Now, NBC plans on giving the sites an additional face lift in the coming months to add social media features, improve Web distribution and make them more community-focused.
“He has a tremendous understanding of our business and how to adapt our traditional local television assets to a digital environment. He’s creative and not afraid to take risks, and the online strategy developed by Brian and his team is already starting to show real results,” said John Wallace, president of NBC Local Media.
Mr. Buchwald said his goal for the year ahead is “to make NBC a relevant player locally with a new generation of audiences currently not watching our news broadcasts or intimately aware of our brands.”