August 15, 2007
NBC's Didja To Launch Alongside the New Site

Tomorrow, Eleanor Baird will be providing an in-depth look at NBC's current repositioning of its online content, through its launch of the New Site venture in particular. I wanted to preface that earlier today by pointing toward what we've written about previously regarding New Site, as well as pointing out another new venture launched by NBC that has been getting some press lately.

That new venture is an online channel made up entirely of advertising, where the ads are not just something to support the content, but content themselves. Our partners over at Turner Broadcasting were trendsetters in this regard, with their channel focuses particularly on humorous commercials called Very Funny Ads.

The site, which was launched as a quick and nimble project from Turner, is an online extension of their TBS brand, which has been positioned to be focused around comedy. The site streams all sorts of commercials, promising chances to see funny new advertisements before they are officially launched as campaigns, among other features.

NBC's version is called Didja, set to launch at the beginning of 2008 and featuring a site in which viewers seek out advertising content more broadly. This will not be as tightly focused as the Turner version. A Variety story by Josef Adalian points out that there is a competing site already launched called adTV.

Adalian writes, "Didja will feature extensive social-networking features (so fans of, say, classic kiddie cereal commercials can geek out together), as well as a mash-up kit that will allow consumers to make their own tributes to brands. Advertisers will upload commercials to the site themselves via their ad agencies, with videos playing via NBC's copy-protected player." Here, there will be at least some room to play with brands, in a space where branded content is the only content.

Meanwhile, NBC Universal is getting prepared for the launch of New Site. This includes folding its online syndication network into the joint venture with News Corporation/Fox, as I wrote about last month. In my post about the formation of New Site back in May, I praised the use of "New Site" as an encouragement, at least, for the popular press to shy away from calling it the "YouTube Killer," or something of the sort which misinterprets what the site is doing in the first place.

For more of my early writing about the joint-network venture for cross-platform distribution of television shows through online video, see this post from March and this post from April, and look forward to Eleanor's pieces later today.


On August 15, 2007 at 3:01 PM, Eleanor Baird said:

Sam, thanks for addressing this (and for the plug!). What's also interesting to me about veryfunnyads and didja, is that they position the content and market the site as "advertainment. It seems the idea is not to be a launching pad for content to spread uninhibited across the web (which in some ways makes more sense for an ad than a TV show without commercials), but to draw people to a single place to view and interact with the content, just as I think New Site is trying to do - question is, can specialized sites (especially for short form content) draw more users than something broader and more general like YouTube.
I'm rather curious about the revenue model, i.e. do ad agencies pay to put their clients' content up, or is the site supported with other advertising fees, and/or is the benefit to Turner or NBC having another platform to sell to their existing advertisers and promote their programming. On a related note, I'm also wondering about the metrics being used to evaluate these sites - I noticed on veryfunnyads that you have to click on the "link" button to get a URL for a particular ad, so I suspect that clicking on that and using the email link are part of the measurements. In a site that's all advertising, the content doesn't seem to be tied directly to sales or clickthroughs to a corporate sites, at least to the naked eye, which also suggests to me that this is about "advertainment" over necessarily generating sales.

On August 15, 2007 at 4:58 PM, David said:

Am glad to see that someone is taking the NBC/News Corp New Site seriously. Most refer to the unnamed site as ClownCo.

I wonder who will be laughing when it launches?


Eleanor, the difference between advertainment and generating sales seems somewhat dubious anyway, doesn't it? The question is how much the distinction matters on the user side, whether it is being conceived as a business model as content or advertising.

Oh, and by the way David, thanks for stopping by. I'm sure Fox and NBC hope plenty of folks will be laughing when it launches (if they're watching one of the networks' sitcoms, anyway). But I think the problem from many people's reactions was the whole YouTube killer angle from the outset, as it was played out in the blogosphere and in the popular press.