NBC, Tribune feed broadband need

Station groups invest in FeedRoom, will begin adding video content to local Web sites

The FeedRoom, which offers its own broadband-delivered content site and also helps other Web sites get into the game, is working with NBC owned-and-operated stations and Tribune Co. to help them offer broadband content. Both NBC and Tribune have also made undisclosed investments in The FeedRoom.

During the next six months, FeedRoom will work with the 13 NBC stations and 16 Tribune stations to design co-branded video areas for their Web sites that will deliver personalized newscasts and other localized news content. Preliminary plans call for the knsd San Diego and knbc Los Angeles to be up and running by Labor Day, with the other O & O stations to add broadband content in the following months. Details on the Tribune rollout were unavailable.

"The broadband aspect of The FeedRoom made this interesting," says Jay Ireland, president of NBC television stations. "Broadband isn't widely distributed, and, as a result, we have a dichotomy of providing two services: a broadband service and then also through the narrowband."

The FeedRoom solves the problem of offering a compelling video experience via broadband, according to President and CEO Jon Klein. "The problem [broadcasters] face is that the narrowband Web site of a TV station cuts the legs out from under its supposed strength," he says. "There's no video, and it's text heavy. It doesn't replicate the experience of watching TV. And it doesn't help much to put up postage-size video."

Ireland says the localized content will be repackaged for the broadband audience. "We aren't interested in throwing on the whole newscast for somebody to watch on the computer instead of television. We're going to provide the value by allowing them to pick pieces of the newscast they'll want to watch, typically after the newscast."

The investment in FeedRoom isn't major, Ireland says, adding that NBC thought the company provided great functionality and tools for local stations. "They have good technology, and we felt we wanted to be a part of it."

The FeedRoom will put employees in the stations, Klein says, to help with encoding the video, storing and tagging it on a database-management system, built by Artesia Technologies, before the content gets "spit out" to the viewer in a custom-designed newscast.