NBC U's Comstock: Stations Should Embrace Digital


As they look to grow audience and revenue online, TV stations should develop new content specifically for digital platforms, NBC Universal President of Digital Development and Marketing Beth Comstock said Thursday.

Speaking at the TVB’s annual conference in New York, Comstock said: “The more you can create original, local programming, the more you can capitalize on that local bond.” Repurposing TV content over new devices, she said, is not enough. “The ultimate challenge is in developing good content that is right for the digital medium.”

NBC Universal tapped Comstock last December to spearhead its digital efforts. Her first major move was cutting a deal to buy women’s Web site iVillage, giving NBC access to “a large, loyal audience of 14 million people,” Comstock said.

For networks or stations alike, she said the key to digital development is “3 Cs”: context, community and content. Context, she said, is understanding how consumers use new technologies. A video iPod, for example, is great for traveling, but not suited for watching a big game on the couch at home. Also, she urged stations to leverage their best products: weather, local sports and news. “There’s probably a big market for getting local sports scores delivered to parents stuck at a kid’s ballet recital,” Comstock said.

As for community, Comstock urged broadcasters to build sections online that provide users with information, such as health and legal channels. She said iVillage is a prime example of such a community.

“Viewers are no longer going to come where we are,” she said. “We need to go where they are.”