NBC Sports is jumping into the market for snackable online video with a new initiative called NBC Sports Digital Shorts.
The videos, produced specifically for digital will be available at NBCsports.com, which was recently revamped to make video easier to find, and by partners including Comcast’s new Watchable video platform and Yahoo.
The strategy is to use NBC Sports' production and promotion capabilities to reach younger consumer who are watching short videos on tablets and smart phones.
Our business is already strong at creating short form video,” said Troy Ewanchyna, VP & general manager for NBCSports.com. NBC Sports already create 1,000 clips a month. “Were well positionedto participate in consumer behavior around short-form video.”
The first project is called Sherman’s Warriors, a series starring former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman, who now coaches a high school football team in Cape Cod., Mass. Sherman’s Warriors will debut after NBC airs Sunday Night Football on Oct. 18.
Sherman Warriors and NBC Sports Digital Shorts will be promoted online during the football game. An on air mention is also possible. The project will also be promoted on other Comcast and NBCU digital properties.
Each episode will run 6-8 minutes. A new episode will be released each Sunday. The episodes will be accompanied by 1-2 minute behind the scenes clips.
The short-form episodes will be ad supported, but the project was not driving by a particular sponsor,” Ewanchyna said. “You’ll certainly see some advertiser elements associated with the first Sherman’s Warriors, but in all likelihood you’re going to see a lot more sales integration as we grow this in the coming months and more-so in ’16,” he said. “We’ll work with our sales team and the advertising community to see what’s the most impactful way to do that.”
While some of the video will look like the highly produced content that NBC Sports is known for turning out, Brian Gilmore, senior director, video, at NBCSports.com said the short-form initiative will also be experimental. “We’re looking to get outside of our comfort zone a little bit and get into some other ways people are producing video content in general and sports content specifically,” he said, adding, “We’re going to respect the sports we cover. We’re not going to go to the extreme where it’s gimmicky.”
Ewanchyna said NBC Sports has already had some short-form success with a franchise called Mad Dash it produces for Yahoo. Mad Dash doesn’t feature traditional highlight. Instead it’s about lighter features, like a dad who makes pancakes in the shape of Washington National’s slugger Bryce Harper. “It’s socially friendly things that you’re going to want to share with friends and co-workers,” he said. “It’s mobile friendly and millennial friendly.”
The revamped NBC website is also more friendly to episodic shows, Gilmore said. Visitors will be able to find episodes of a series and other associated content more easily. They’ll also happen upon other video they might be interested in—and not know that NBC Sports produced.
“We feel like we’ve made some big strides in that area,” Gilmore said.