NBC News will continue to roll out vertical, special interest “near news” advertising opportunities going into 2017, the most recent of which is a technological/transformational themed effort called Mach for NBC News. “One of the things we’ve rolled out as part of our quality transformative mission is a vertical strategy,” Alex Duncan, VP of Digital Strategy & Operations, says in an interview with Beet.tv.
The strategy derives from the knowledge that “Marketers want to be near news content. We pay a lot of attention to that,” says Duncan.
It’s already in place for NBC New’s TODAY, “which is a great TV brand but it’s also a brand that we’ve positioned digitally as a lifestyle brand,” Duncan explains, citing home and health related content as examples within the vertical.
Most recently, NBCU launched Mach from NBC News, whose mission is to chart the future “from technology to the scientific breakthroughs changing our lives,” as stated on the Mach beta website. Boeing, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, had dominant ad positions on the site.
In February 2017, the company will offer a vertical called Better, “which is wellness for the whole you. Not just health but fitness, financial wellness, career wellness,” Duncan says.
Better will be followed by Think, whose content will include “big ideas, possibly political analysis, think pieces,” according to Duncan.
“We think those are great opportunities for advertisers to play in sort of a near news space,” Duncan says. “We are providing places where they can advertise against sort of a clear niche in a more welcoming space than sometimes the larger news product can be.”
Asked about video viewing and the user experience, Duncan recalls the origins of NBC New’s early decision to turn off auto-play, the dual reason for which was viewability concerns and understanding that people reading an article might not want a video to be playing as well.
“Business goals are important, but ultimately if you’re hurting your user experience you’re handicapping your business goals in the long run,” says Duncan. Advertising, he concedes, sometimes “gets in the way” of a quality experience.