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Local TV Awards: NBCU Local Goes Where Viewers Are

NBCUniversal Local apps
Multiplatform Broadcaster of the Year: NBCUniversal Local (Image credit: NBCUniversal Local)

NBCUniversal Local is B+C’s Multiplatform Broadcaster of 2021 thanks to the group’s relentless strategy in putting the group’s local content in front of users on the move. That includes stations’ over-the-top newscasts, local outlets working with streamer Peacock, and young-skewing network NBCLX

Between NBC and Telemundo stations, 20 have launched over-the-top newscasts, and the number is growing. WNBC New York, for one, premiered a 10-minute daily digital newscast, News 4 Now, in April. Users access it on WNBC’s Roku and Apple TV channels and the station app. 

Also in 2021, owned stations’ content became available on Peacock via what the group calls “playlists,” available through Peacock’s News tab. 

The year began with NBC’s regional sports networks, including ones in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, joining the Local group. Increased collaboration with their station partners allows the group to super-serve audiences in these markets, often in multiple languages. TV content aside, the RSNs offer users 20 sports podcasts. 

“We are collaborating in a way that is critical to our future,” said Lora Dennis, NBCUniversal Local executive VP, “and brings out the best in what our stations can do.”

In July, NBCUniversal Local redesigned its NBC- and Telemundo-station mobile apps, adding Fire TV. A “smart radar” weather feature automatically presents the closest radar source. Live radar is available on the apps throughout the country. “You have better weather information if you have live radar,” said Valari Dobson Staab, NBCU Local president. 

Diginet NBCLX grew its daily live hours from four to six, and added Xumo and Samsung TV. Matt Goldberg, NBCLX VP of content strategy, spoke of “reinventing the idea of what a newscast is.” Hosts don’t wear ties or sit at desks, and speak in conversational tones. “The whole idea is to bring the viewer into the space and make them feel a part of the conversation,” he said. 

Revenue at OTT sales platform NBC Spot On tripled this year. “All our digital products feed into Spot On,” said Staab. “It gives advertisers an easy way to buy them.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.