Video Sharing to Boost NBC Web Sites

Sep 13, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The 14 Web sites for NBC owned-and-operated stations plan to implement a video sharing capability next month that should dramatically increase the amount of video content they are able to offer.

The group will introduce a new internal process in October that will allow video to be pushed once across all 14 owned sites, said David Overbeeke, executive VP and chief information officer of NBC Universal. The concept is similar to NBC’s use of graphics hubs that allow it to share and send graphics from one station to many.

NBC generates 120 million page views per month across its 14 Web sites. But the sites serve up only 3 million video streams each month, and for a business whose bread and butter is video, those numbers could be higher. Mr. Overbeeke’s goal is for the new sharing process to jump-start the streams served from 3 million per month to 10 million per month within a year. That’s because the video-sharing tools should allow NBC to offer Web users four to five times more video on its owned station sites than it does today.

Most of that added video will be from other stations and markets, though, raising the question of how much local content viewers want to see on local Web sites. Mr. Overbeeke contends that while delivering local video and news is clearly a key component of a local site, consumers are equally interested in what’s going on in the world.

“If you are just doing local news at a local site, you will get clobbered. You have to have national and local,” he said. “Video from other markets on key stories is what will make this attractive.”

With the new system, NBC will rely on a Web publishing tool called Phaedra to publish the video once across the 14 sites. Local markets can choose whether to post individual stories. In addition, the bandwidth is now in place through T1 lines, and stations are finishing the installation of the fiber infrastructure that is needed for the video sharing. “We think we will be able to compete as effectively on the video side as we do on the text side,” Mr. Overbeeke said.

NBC is also considering a subscription-based model for Internet news content on-demand, along the lines of ABCNews On Demand. “I think now that we are part of NBC Universal, there are more compelling discussions. You could link together the content from NBC and Universal,” he said.