NBC Once Again Overvaluing Content, Undervaluing Community

from the their-own-loss dept

NBC Universal, like so many big media companies, seems to view everything through a top-down broadcast media lens. For example, while it may seem like a good idea that the company is finally (finally!) recognizing that people may be craving local content that is sometimes difficult to find, there’s something missing in its announcement of plans to create “locals only” websites targeted at specific geographic regions. You can read the entire press release and see if you notice what’s missing.

Every single part of the description of the site is about delivering content to people. Nowhere is there any sense of actually building a community around that content. The only time “community” is mentioned is as a “target.” The press release claims that these sites are aimed at “social capitalists” who are the leading influencers in their communities, but the company seems to have missed out on the fact that the reason those folks are influencers isn’t because they sit back and just consume the content shoveled to them, but because they take part in the process. They share the news, they comment on it, they write it, they annotate it, they build on it and they help create it. But all that NBC Universal is talking about is taking the same old, old model of simply shoveling content to people.

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Companies: nbc universal

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Comments on “NBC Once Again Overvaluing Content, Undervaluing Community”

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Fletcher says:

They're all criminals anyway

Why would NBC Universal trust they’re precious sites to be influenced by the very public that they consider to be full of rampant criminals? Since NBC likes to consider websites as responsible for materials that the users post, maybe they’re afraid of exposing themselves to this imaginary liability.

I do wonder how NBC would handle someone posting copyrighted material that NBC owns the copyright to. Would they call it infringement or not? If it is infringement, who exactly is the infringer?

Dave says:


It seems that they are taking a few lessons from Gannet. But after observing Gannet’s implementation, (which really is just adding a blog to the online story) I see how there’s more opportunity in the overall proposal, like what you’re saying, Mike.

So adding blogs as a way to obtain and gauge public reaction, and potential crowd sourcing for stories from the long tail may provide a more “local” feel to the 24-hour news cycle. This helps in local engagement, and possibly has a positive correlation to local programming (including news) ratings. My experience when scanning Gannet outlets, is that the contributions from the “Man on the Street” blogs are somewhat deconstructive in nature– shouting matches where very little constructive content can be derived.

I want to continue this discussion, and even drew up a laundry list of 10-15 things to consider, but it needs to be vetted. I also just realized I am already running late to my next appointment. Just a thought, but maybe John Wallace would like to sponsor Floor64 to do a case on this.

nasch says:

Jumping to conclusions

I haven’t visited the web sites, but based on the press release it sounds like you might be jumping to conclusions. Following is all my emphasis.

“the new sites will feature content from a wide variety of sources — including print, online publications, bloggers, individuals and NBC’s local television stations”

“They… have an interest in creating, experimenting, sharing and critiquing all they experience. “

“Content will be aggregated from the best available sources – in many cases linking to outside content providers or contributed by the audience itself

I’m not saying this effort will work, but it looks to me like they’re clearly aiming to involve the audience more deeply than just reading, they’re just not using the words you would use to describe it. Maybe it will end up being too much push content and not enough community, time will tell, but I think you’re giving it short shrift.

LostSailor says:

Is "Community Building" Their Business Model?

Mike, you’re criticizing them for something that’s not their business model. They clearly state that their role is a content provider and aggregator.

They may not be using the Web in ways of which you approve, but “creating community” isn’t what they do or apparently what they want to do.

What’s wrong with providing content, news, and information on the local level that people might want?

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