May 30, 2006
ABC, NBC Further Expand Transmedia News

Both ABC and NBC are greatly expanding their news programs through online content, with new projects announced last week.

For NBC News, it will be a launch onto iTunes. According to an article from TelevisionWeek, NBC will be producing time capsule programs hosted by Brian Williams from NBC Nightly News, along with former episodes of Meet the Press.

NBC's news network is the first to launch onto iTunes. Could news potentially be something that people would be willing to watch on the run or in transit, thus making it appropriate for iTunes? It will be particularly interesting to see how the "time capsule" style programs do. News has been a type of content whose archives are incredibly hard to market, particularly because of the prolific output of news deparmtents of programming that is so time-specific. For the sake of archiving, all of this news content is kept, but there's been little attempt to capitalize off these products.

NBC, however, is farm from alone in launching into online content. While the "big three" networks have been accused for years now of shying further and further away from any comprehensive look at international news, ABC is hoping to rectify that--to some degree--by making short ad-supported clips from BBC News available through the ABC News Web site.

The newest project is a longstanding continuination of the relationship between ABC and the BBC, with ABC being announced, according to an article in TelevisionWeek, as "the exclusive reprentative for on-demand broadband and wireless in North America" for the BBC.

This particular conversation seems appropriate on the heels of our discussion of transmedia in the news environment that we have had with Aayush Iyer here on this site and on his own site. For NBC, iTunes is being mined as a place to market the expansive news archives, while ABC is hoping to expand its international coverage online. Will either, or both, be successful? The BBC clips may be of great benefit to those who don't have access to BBC America, and the NBC clips could draw well both with history buffs and with students doing research. Any thoughts?