At NBC’s affiliates meeting in April the two co-chairs of the Affiliates Futures Committee made the pitch to the 230 broadcast stations about their next digital venture. That’s the National Broadband Co., an online video service for which NBC’s rising star Mike Steib, general manager of Weather Plus and a co-chair of the committee, has been tapped to lead the development and rollout.
“He’s the guy who ought to make the pitch,” said Jay Ireland, president of NBC Universal Television Stations and Mr. Steib’s boss. “He’s stepped up to the plate every time with things we have asked him to do.”
That includes Weather Plus, the network’s digital spectrum venture with its affiliates. While Weather Plus is a rather unsexy business-it’s a digital 24-hour service that competes with The Weather Channel, after all-Mr. Steib has steered that venture in the 18 months since its launch to reach 85 local NBC markets representing 75 percent of the country. NBC won’t disclose financials, but Mr. Steib said it’s generating millions in revenues. Those are new ad dollars for the network and its local affiliates.
As co-chair of the committee along with Hearst-Argyle Executive VP Terry Mackin, Mr. Steib is charged with developing and executing the new media businesses that will make money for TV stations, which are increasingly under pressure to stay relevant in the new digital arena.
Next up is the National Broadband Co. As Mr. Steib continues running Weather Plus, he’s also working with Brian Buchwald, VP of strategy and business development for NBC Universal Digital Media, on the plans for the new broadband venture, which was approved unanimously by affiliates at the April meeting. Mr. Steib said the service will operate as a clearinghouse for online video content. It will be both a content aggregator and a syndicator of broadband video, amassing video from NBC, the NBC stations and third-party content providers and distributing that content online through the NBC stations’ Web pages and via other Web sites via deals with the National Broadband Co. The service should launch by the end of the year.
“As you talk to folks who have video on their sites, the question is always, ‘Do you have enough video to satisfy your audience?'” Mr. Steib said. That’s where the National Broadband Co. comes in.
“The impetus for this business is that Randy Falco [president and chief operating officer of the NBC Universal Television Group] and Jay Ireland set us on this path to unlock the value in our digital video assets,” Mr. Steib said.
While he’s building the new broadband venture he’s also guiding Weather Plus onto the Web with weatherplus.com. That service launched in January with the NBC-owned stations and is now rolling out its branding and development with other NBC affiliates.
Mr. Steib joined NBC in 2001 as a manager of business development and quickly rose through the ranks to lead the development of the business plan for Weather Plus and oversee its rollout along with colleague Jordan Hoffner, who is now VP of NBC Universal digital studios.
Mr. Steib earned a degree in economics and international policy in 1998 from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. for two years and at an Internet startup before landing at NBC.
Title: General manager of NBC’s Weather Plus and co-chair of the NBC Affiliates Futures Committee
Date of birth: May 28, 1976
Place of birth: Hollywood, Fla.
Big break: Mr. Steib described his big break as the sacrifices his parents made to send him to college, since he’s the first person in his family to attend.
Mr. Steib lives the youth demographic-he likes snowboarding, Xbox 360, viral video and hip-hop music.