NBC is not trying to be a portal. That was the word the company’s digital chief, Beth Comstock, gave advertisers yesterday afternoon at Advertising Age’s Media Mavens award luncheon, where Ad Age Associate Publisher Scott Donaton grilled her on NBC’s online ambitions, whether the network was infringing on agency territory with a new plan to help develop viral videos for marketers and if she could envision a pay model for broadcast TV.
Not a portal
“I don’t think NBC is a portal,” Ms. Comstock said before adding: “It depends on the definition — if it’s an aggregation of eyeballs, then yes.” She reported millions of people have flocked to NBC.com to watch shows such as “Heroes” and “30 Rock” and that the traffic caught them by surprise. Still, she said, “at the end of the day we’re not going to be Yahoo.” While people are never going to come to NBC for everything, she said, neither would Yahoo be able to create the content NBC has.
Ms. Comstock, the former chief marketing officer at General Electric Co., which owns NBC Universal, became NBCU’s president-digital media and market development a year ago. She sees NBC as a filter with a certain sensibility and a show such as “The Office” as a brand. “Could ‘The Office’ be ‘The Office’ without NBC? Maybe,” she said. But she likes to think NBC brings something to the show.