As NBCUniversal’s president and chief content officer, Jeff Wachtel oversees content for the NBCU cable channels and Universal Cable Productions.
On March 5, USA Network and the studio launch the murder mystery “Dig,” starring Jason Isaacs as an FBI agent in Jerusalem, whose investigation of an American’s death leads to an ancient conspiracy.
With a 12-part prequel available online via the social community Wattpad, “Dig” represents two themes prevalent at NATPE 2015 – international production and digital outreach.
What is the importance of revenue from international buyers for your programming?
Part of the earlier “blue sky” USA brand and marketing was shows that we know will play around the world, that won’t just create a profit center but will also bring in enough international value that we can afford to produce these shows at the same level as broadcast and premium cable.
How key is the digital buildout to the launch of “Dig”?
It’s significant, especially because the theme of the show is secrets and mystery and treasure and the overlap of spirituality and greed, so there’s a lot to play. There’s a lot of potential for interactivity. USA’s marketing team is running that effort, and it’s already started, with clues, with iconography. There’s an image in the marketing which is going to key into different sites and searches that the audience will be able to engage in directly and separate from the fictional narrative.
All storytelling is multi-tiered now, with an increasing number of platforms where you can not only watch the primary content but get engaged in the content.