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Charlotte Web

Over the past 20 years, new technologies
have played a signifi cant
role in the successful operations of
NBC News Channel.

Prior to launching the channel
in 1991, Bob Horner, the network’s
president, had run a similar operation
for CBS. “It was an excellent
service, but was New York-based.
What struck me was the relatively
high percentage of our total cost
that went into various kinds of
overhead that did not translate into
content or service for our clients,”
Horner recalls. “So when I made
the proposal to NBC to develop
this operation, we were really
focused on finding a way to get a
maximum percentage of our total
expenses used to create content
and services.”

Fortunately, satellite delivery
methods had advanced to the
point where they were able to set
up shop in 1991 in a relatively lowcost
part of Charlotte. “Ten years
earlier, we wouldn’t have had so
many options,” Horner explains.
“Charlotte has worked out very
well, and I think [it has] allowed us
to make more progress than we
would have been able to make if
we’d been forced to spend more
money on overhead.”

Early on, the operation was one of
the first to embrace digital satellite
transmission, and in 1999 became
“the first organization of our kind
to go into the world of file-based
delivery,” Horner says. “We always
wanted to use technology in a way
that would give us a competitive
advantage so we could put more
money into news and do a better
job of serving our clients.”