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NBC, Verizon Will Live-Stream Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Sports fans can live-stream the Super Bowl and the Olympics. Now, aficionados of Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade will have a to get a digital take of the proceedings.

NBCUniversal and Macy’s will make a video feed of the annual spectacle available on Verizon’s YouTube page as part of a marketing partnership. The maneuver gives people who want to watch the event an option other than the NBC telecast for the first time since the network began its parade telecasts in 1952, and bring a new-media dimension to the venerable Macy’s event, which began snaking through New York City’s concrete canyons in 1924. Under the terms of the package, Verizon will stream the parade with five cameras placed along the route capable of beaming 360-degree views to users, and festoon the view with pop-up graphics offering facts about the proceedings. Actors Marlon Wayans and Olivia Culpo will curate the program.

“We’ve never really focused on an alternate viewing experience,” said Alison Tarrant, executive vice president of client partnerships at NBCUniversal, in an interview. “This is a big step for this broadcast.” The live stream will be available on Verizon’s YouTube page, http://www.youtube.com/verizon.

The new means of watching an old TV institution arrives as Madison Avenue is seeking different ways to partner with the industry overall. While traditional TV commercials thrive, marketers are placing new emphasis on devising content that dovetails with the programming that attracted viewers in the first place, rather than interrupting a show with messages routinely viewed as something of an annoyance. The emerging model is sprouting in various places, as anyone who has seen NBC late-night host Seth Meyers do on-set commercials for Amazon or watched Taco Bell sponsor an ongoing series of vignettes from “Fear the Walking Dead” in ad breaks on AMC can tell  you.

“This partnership enables us to create content together that we would not have been able to do on our own,” said Tarrant.

But there are other benefits as well. The YouTube stream might appeal to people on the go for the holiday who must rely on a mobile device to get a view of the annual parade. Or it might serve as a sort of “second-screen” enhancer for viewers already at home watching the event through traditional means.

NBCUniversal will promote the digital stream in live mentions on several of its programs, through social-media posts and with ads that appear on the company’s various TV networks.

Financial terms of the arrangement could not be learned. Zenith, one of the media-buying units of Publicis Media, helped put the deal together for Verizon.

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