Peacock, affils get into digital vid biz

Pair launches new joint venture

NBC thinks it has found a better way to share digital revenues with its 200-plus local affiliates: start a business with them.

On Wednesday, the network and leaders from its local affiliates announced a joint venture dubbed the National Broadband Co., a legal entity designed to aggregate video from the network and stations online.

“These aren’t revenue-share opportunities,” said Terry Mackin, outgoing affiliate board chair and exec VP of Hearst-Argyle. “This is going to be a joint venture in which we both put significant dollars and share in the revenue together.”

NBC execs likened the deal to another joint venture, digital weather channel NBC Weather Plus, which launched in 2004. In addition to the National Broadband Co., NBC and execs from the affiliate board said that deal had been expanded to include a new venture, nbcweatherplus.com.

Mackin said National Broadband Co., or NBBC as it is known internally, will have access to content from the NBC Universal library, content generated in local markets and some firstrun primetime shows, although execs said it was unlikely it would stream hourlong dramas online.

While giving few details, execs were careful to say the venture will not have any influence over NBC U’s iTunes download business, which is still a subject of talks between the affiliates and the network.

In addition to the online joint venture, the NBC affiliate board appointed Marci Burdick as chairman. Burdick is senior veep of broadcast for Schurz Communications of South Bend, Ind., owner of two NBC affiliates.