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SBJ/March 19 - 25, 2007/This Weeks News
NBC Sports steers site toward broadband
Published March 19, 2007
A little more than six months after its launch, NBC Sports’ Web site is switching its focus to rely more on broadband content than original material.
|NBCSports.com relaunched in September.|
“The brilliant thing about the Internet is that it tells you in real time what’s working and what’s not,” said Perkins Miller, senior vice president of digital media for NBC Sports and Olympics. “Our feedback was that people wanted us to focus on what we do well. They didn’t want us to give them something they could get somewhere else.”
The switch in focus resulted in fewer than 10 layoffs at the new division and comes as NBCSports.com signed a cross-promotional partnership with SI.com under which Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports will point viewers to each other’s sites.
“The Internet is not a walled garden,” Miller said. “We need to be as accommodating as possible.”
The move leaves NBC to focus much of its online product on sports featured on the network, such as the NFL, Notre Dame football, the NHL, PGA Tour and, of course, the Olympics.
One of the reasons for the change has been the online success that NBCSports.com has had, Miller said, pointing to Notre Dame pregame and postgame shows and broadband programming from its “Football Night in America” show. Miller also highlighted the site’s broadband NHL show, “Face Off,” which stars NBC’s NHL studio team, including Bill Clement and Brett Hull.
NBC is planning similar broadband shows around events such as the ASPT Dew Tour and the Kentucky Derby, events that will be broadcast on the network, Perkins said.
NBCSports.com also plans to rely on broadband to cover sports that the network doesn’t carry, such as baseball, Miller said, using shows like the weekly broadband series “Breakfast with Tiffany,” starring Tiffany Simons.
In September, in conjunction with NBC’s return as an NFL broadcaster, NBCSports.com relaunched in hopes of better competing with the industry’s traffic leaders, including ESPN.com, FoxSports.com and CBS.SportsLine.com.
In addition to broadband video and fantasy games, the site originally focused on sports news.
The viewers, however, did not show up, according to numbers from comScore Media Metrix. In the last six months, NBCSports.com’s average number of unique visitors per month (675,000), lagged far behind the marks of ESPN.com (17.97 million), Yahoo! Sports (15.46 million), Fox Sports on MSN (15.40 million), CBS SportsLine (11.60 million) and SI.com (5.25 million).