NAB: NBC Unveils TV Everywhere App for Affiliates

UPDATED: NBC convened a special affiliate body meeting April 7 in Las Vegas to showcase its new TV Everywhere web and mobile platform, which will allow logged in viewers in its affiliated markets to watch both network and station content live. NBC has invested heavily in the technology, according to people at the network, who were optimistic affiliates would be impressed with the results.

"NBC is bullish on both broadcasting and our affiliate relationship," said Jean Dietze, executive VP of affiliate relations. "We've taken a leadership position in developing the strategy and the tactics for our affiliates to get their live local signal seen by their viewers on as many platforms, and in as many places, as possible. With expanded TV Everywhere rights, combined with our commitment to broad consumer marketing support, NBCU's TV Everywhere will give our affiliates the tools they need to bring broadcasting to a new level."

NBC displayed the application to leaders at its partner station groups, and discussed the terms of engagement. The network digitally inserts advertising in the program stream. Each station group will negotiate with the network on terms for digital distribution.

The rollout follows a similar one with NBC's stable of cable channels.
Getting full buy-in from any network's affiliates on any issue is difficult, but NBC's leaders entered the meeting hopeful that the local station partners would appreciate the resources that went into the initiative, and see it as mutually beneficial. NBC execs involved in the project believe the viewing will be additive, and not detracting from linear viewing.

NBC affiliates board chairman Jordan Wertlieb said the presentation was "really positive," and was pleased that the VOD component of the product will offer local ad insertions for affiliates. "It demonstrates NBC's commitment to local," said Wertlieb. While details have to be worked out, he said, the prototype was "overwhelmingly accepted" by affiliates.

In addition to the affiliates body meeting April 7, the NBC affiliates board meets April 8 in Las Vegas.  

At last year's NAB show, the ABC affiliates board meeting focused on the network's Watch ABC app, which commenced rollout a month later. Fox too unveiled its TV Everywhere plan in Vegas in 2013, while TV Everywhere was also discussed at NBC's affiliates board meeting a year ago. Wertlieb called it a "work in progress" at the time and said both parties were working together in good faith.

NBC is "fully committed" to the TV Everywhere initiative, says Ron Lamprecht, executive VP of digital distribution.

"We're already well underway with the entire cable network portfolio, and now we're looking forward to working with the broadcast affiliates for yet another successful launch," he said.

Michael Malone

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.