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How's This Whole NBC 2.0 Thing Working Out?

Frank Ahrens

Today, NBC Universal crowed about a "ground breaking year" in interactive television.

The entertainment company, whose NBC television network is still searching for consistent ratings success, launched what it called NBC 2.0 earlier this fall, involving deep cuts in personnel and budget to pay for the move into the digital age.

So far, NBCU has launched 40 interactive television shows -- meaning TV shows that do more than just sit there on your screen. For instance, viewers can try to win prize money on "Deal or No Deal" and get in-show text alerts from characters during "The 4400."

The company touted all sorts of figures, like the number of Web votes that came from viewers. But conspicuously absent from the announcement are figures behind this symbol: $.

Media execs keep talking about how interactive revenue has huge growth potential. Well, I suppose when I look at NBCU's 2006 performance in the annual report of General Electric, NBCU's parent, I'll see.

My question is: Are any of you participating in the NBC 2.0 revolution? Are you using the Internet or your cell phone to vote for stuff during TV shows? Are you signed up for text messages from TV characters?

How interactive are you with NBCU's so-called interactive revolution?

Today In The Post:

* You know it. I know it. The American people know it: There's really nothing cooler than photos from space. Now, NASA has inked a pact (that's newspaper-talk) to put its warehouse of really cool photos from space on Google. Marc Kaufman reports.

Elsewhere:

* Wow. Google hasn't really conquered the whole world yet. At least not Russia .

* Architectural wonders of 2006, as assembled in a nifty slide show.

* Is the computer ready to replace the TV yet? One writer cut the cable ot his TV and relied only on downloadable content. See how he fared.

By Frank Ahrens  |  December 19, 2006; 11:01 AM ET  | Category:  Frank Ahrens
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Comments

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I think it would be better if NBC offered viewers the chance to watch their shows on their website like ABC does.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 1:35 PM

Here are some ideas for the old media networks.
1. Use the multiple over the air HD channels they now have to broadcast multiple versions of the same content. For example, Fox has numerous OTA HD channels. They could broadcast the Redskins game on one channel, the Packers game on another and so on. they have the rights to broadcast the games why not leverage the content they already paid for and let the viewer chose which content they want.
2.Each HD OTA channel can have different camera views of a live event. Now the viewer can chose which they want to watch. Then monitor which was most popular
Both of these ideas use existing infrastructure. No expensive upgrades.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2006 2:40 PM

Interactive TV was predicted by Ray Bradbury in the 1950's Fharenheit 451.

Posted by: LowellK | December 19, 2006 7:38 PM

I think USA's website was sending out those 4400 text messages way before any announcement of an NBC-Uni digital initiative.

What they need to do is perfect the streaming technology. Until they do, it's all talk.

Posted by: Joseph Bua | December 19, 2006 11:30 PM

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Posted by: lisa | December 20, 2006 6:42 AM

What is irking me about all of this is the stripping of talent at NBC4. It is depressing to see folks like Arch Campbell, Susan Kidd, and George Michael go by the wayside because the company needs the cash in their salaries to pay the bills. Channel 4 has been the premiere local news station for years. I'd hate to see NBC do to them what they have done to the network in order to save a few 100k.

Posted by: Bummed about the changes | December 22, 2006 9:19 AM

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