NBC’s Kliavkoff on “That New NBC/News YouTube Killer”


NBC Universal and News Corp. made a lot of noise six months ago, when they announced a collaboration on a new video site aimed at YouTube.  We haven’t heard hide nor hair of it since.  So, how’s the site doing?  Forbes chatted with NBC’s “chief digital officer” George Kliavkoff to find out. 

Key points:

  • The site is expected to launch in September.
  • The site still doesn’t have a name.  (To which we cry, “Why on earth not?”) 
  • “New site” has some content partners other than News and NBC, but Disney, CBS, and Viacom still refuse to participate.  Disney probably never will.  New Site’s strategy is consistent with CBS’s, but they declined the first time around.  Viacom is “still figuring things out.”
  • Users may have some ability to post New Site videos on their own sites, but there will be restrictions.
  • Not yet decided whether ads will be permanently linked with videos when videos are syndicated.
  • New Site will distribute content through major portals. It might also distribute through widgets–no decision yet.
  • TV content will be free for streaming.  Users will also be able to buy TV episode downloads, a la iTunes.  In this realm, the site will compete with iTunes, where NBC already has a 45%-50% market share of videos.  (Really?)
  • iTunes is a pain in the arse to work with, because they really exist to sell hardware–and NBC is in the software business.  We want flex pricing, DRM, etc.  They don’t.

Kliavkoff also discussed the Peacock Equity fund, NBC and GE’s new digital investment vehicle.  The fund has $250 million to invest in seed- and venture-stage start-ups and has made 5 investments so far.  In our opinion, this is an excellent way for traditional media businesses to hedge their core businesses and build their digital portfolios.