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Streaming Media
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Winter 2019
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Streaming With the Major Media
Established players and challengers compete and converge to shape the future of video online. In this article, ESPN new media's former senior manager for international business strategy assesses the landscape and looks to the future.
Mon., Sept. 25, by Tejpaul Bhatia

NBC Universal (NBCU)
Key streaming properties: NBC.com, Bravo, Brilliant But Cancelled, Telemundo, USA

NBCU has created a lot of buzz in the press recently with new positions for executives and new appointments to digital roles within NBCU. Many companies are struggling with the issues surrounding the development of the perfect digital organization, and most companies are still figuring out the right mix of skills, personality types, and executive involvement.

Disney and Viacom seem to have strong, unified approaches to broadband, while NBCU’s efforts seem a little scattered. It is still too early to tell if it is better to have a centralized digital unit or to give complete digital autonomy to individual business units and brands.

What you see happening at NBCU is the partnering of certain brands with companies like Yahoo! and YouTube to distribute content. The unofficial release of NBC’s Saturday Night Live skit "Lazy Sunday" on YouTube showed the value of viral marketing, and in June, NBC struck a deal to officially distribute content such as user-generated promos for The Office on YouTube as well as purchase ad space on the site.

Figure 2

While Disney and Viacom have stuck to the practice of creating destination sites and keeping fans within the brands’ worlds, NBCU’s brands have decided to partner with aggregators. It is still too early to tell which route is better and which one will show higher returns. Investing in building your own streaming media infrastructure and portal includes development and operational costs, but you have full control over the experience, access, and ad inventory on your property. Partnering with aggregators might give you established infrastructure and reach, but it doesn’t give you innovative control over the experience and ad inventory that surrounds your video content.

Since this article went to press for the September issue of Streaming Media magazine, NBCU announced NBC Broadband Co., which will syndicate NBCU content to websites that meet certain size and quality criteria.

Key streaming lesson: Leverage partnerships with distribution channels that can get you reach and viral marketing.

News Corporation
Key streaming properties: Fox, MySpace

News Corporation owns several content and distribution properties, but for the purposes of this article, we will look at two: Fox and MySpace.

Fox has several popular shows, including 24, but the company has yet to do a big push with streaming though destination broadband channels in the manner of their media giant counterparts. Fox has started to syndicate content from its shows to its local Fox affiliate websites, and it has also started to sell episodes on MySpace, which it bought in 2005.

Figure 3

MySpace puts News Corporation in a very interesting and influential position in the industry. While the immediate connection between MySpace and News Corporation may not be clear, and while MySpace’s astronomical price tag might not make sense, News Corporation is sitting on an asset that generates a giant chunk of the internet’s traffic and draws a substantial number of eyeballs. MySpace is moving into video, and it will be interesting to see how the News Corporation relationship will play into the efforts.

Key streaming lesson: Leverage your traffic-generating assets to give you advantaged positioning in the market.