Notes from the Mediascape: NBC’s new Communicator
NBC.com's swank new ad-supported social media platform Communicator blends content like The Office and Heroes with computer-to-computer voice calling and text messaging.
NBC.com has introduced a new ‘fan platform’ that blends access to NBC content like The Office and Heroes with online communications tools including computer-to-computer voice calling and text messaging. All ad-supported, of course.
The NBC.com Communicator is a free download that resides on the user’s desktop and is accessible as soon as the computer is turned on. In addition to NBC content, the platform offers access to Microsoft’s suite of social networking tools, including Windows Live Messenger.
It also enables marketers to include advertising formats like pre-roll video and banner ads.
The Communicator is powered by ItiBiti Systems, a Toronto-based company with offices in New York and Los Angeles that specializes in rich media applications. The deal has been in development for the past 18 months said Brad Parry, Itibiti’s chief marketing officer.
‘This platform is a great tool,’ Parry told MiC yesterday. ‘People will see there is a true revenue business model built into this, and it’s going to allow us to talk to other broadcasters and other rich-media sources. It’s truly a big step for us.’
Parry calls the desktop the next digital battleground. ‘People talk about the war on the web, but the war isn’t on the web these days,’ he said. ‘Whoever wins the desktop is going to win that war.’
While the deal with NBC is the first announced partnership for ItiBiti, Parry says there has been ‘broad interest’ in the platform from organizations ranging from sports franchises to broadcasters and quick-service restaurants.
He characterizes talks with leading Canadian broadcasters as ‘very positive,’ but acknowledges that they are currently distracted by more pressing issues like the fee-for-carriage imbroglio. ‘We’ve been talking with them, and we’re ready when they are,’ he added.
Recent numbers from ComScore Media Metrix show NBC.com as the leader online among conventional networks, with 198.4 million unique visitors in September. That is at least partly attributable to an aggressive digital strategy that includes special online content attached to shows such as The Office and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.