NBCUniversal Expands Today Show’s Shoppable Franchise to Peacock

Steals & Deals special begins airing today on streaming service

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It’s the holiday shopping season—and NBC’s Today is hoping viewers looking for gift ideas will tune in to Peacock.

Beginning this morning at 9 a.m., the broadcaster’s Today morning show brand is expanding its Steals & Deals franchise to fledgling streamer Peacock with a shopping special. This is the company’s first shoppable offering made specifically for the new platform.

The special is hosted by longtime Today contributor Jill Martin. It will run on Today All Day, Peacock’s dedicated streaming channel for the morning show franchise. The special will offer up shoppable programming designed specifically to be promoted on the streaming service.

The special on Today All Day debuted in July as an always-on channel for the streaming service. It’s designed to help support companywide goals of bolstering Peacock, which NBCUniversal has emphasized as key to the future of its business.

“Combining that with our second priority, which is commerce, it just seems like an obvious win,” said Ashley Parrish, the executive editor of Today Digital and the vp of Today’s custom productions unit. “It really is an intersection of our strategies coming together for this really great special.”

As is commonplace for the decade-old Steals & Deals franchise, Martin will highlight products for sale on Today’s dedicated shopping website. Unlike the broadcast counterpart, though, the special will run for a whopping two hours. More than 50 products will be showcased and available for purchase on Today’s dedicated shopping website. The purchases will be prompted through on-screen QR codes.

Martin’s broadcast segments are expected to deliver a cheery, warp-speed rundown of gift ideas, home goods and other product recommendations. Meanwhile, the Peacock special will include stories, giveaways and guests, such as celebrity guests Olivia Culpo, Kathie Lee Gifford and Tracy Morgan. Today’s Al Roker and Dylan Dreyer will also make appearances.

The decision to make the special a two-hour event was driven by data about Today All Day viewers, who tend to spend more time watching in one sitting on Peacock than viewers on other platforms. It’s also designed to take advantage of the freedom from a more rigid broadcast schedule.

“On Today All Day, we know that the watch time is much longer,” Parrish said. “When it comes to the streaming side of things, it’s a more lean-back experience and it’s more of a long-form experience. This allows us to go into much deeper detail and have much more of a storytelling and editorial focus than just showing off the products.”

Airing the special on Monday, several days ahead of the traditional Black Friday shopping spree, is also aimed at helping the franchise capitalize on viewers who may be looking to get some of their holiday shopping done early.

“We know from surveys that our audiences are looking for a deal more than ever, and we know that they’ll be shopping earlier this year,” Parrish said. “We know that our audience already shopping online quite often—but we know that they will do more of their holiday shopping online this year.”

The special has been in the works for months and was filmed in early October over the course of two days. NBC’s custom productions unit went to Martin’s Long Island, N.Y. home with the set design materials and products in tow, decking out three outdoor sets with fake snow, wreaths and garlands.

To adhere to Covid-19 production protocols, cameras and masked crew stayed outside the home to shoot. That required some creativity—including positioning a jib through a window wall to shoot an indoor set, said Dana Haller, senior executive producer, NBC News Custom Productions.

The special comes as NBCUniversal has waded further into shoppable television. Examples include a broadcast and digital holiday gift guide effort, which encourages shopping through the company’s ecommerce marketplace NBCUniversal Checkout. (The Peacock Steals & Deals special is not hosted on the Checkout platform but on Today’s standalone shopping destination.)  

Parrish said the company will be measuring success through a commerce lens by looking at total revenue and the velocity of sales driven by the special. She will also evaluate victory or failure through streaming-centric KPIs: namely, minutes watched and length of tune-in time.

The special isn’t designed to cannibalize the Today’s broadcast audience. It is airing several days ahead of Today’s own Black Friday Steals & Deals segment, which is slated to air on Thanksgiving Day. That broadcast special will feature a different line-up of products entirely, so viewers of the Peacock special can tune into the Thanksgiving broadcast segment without fearing product overlap.

That leaves plenty of room for cross-promotion. In true corporate synergy, Martin’s Thanksgiving-themed Steals & Deals segment on Today’s Nov. 11 broadcast promoted the streaming special, along with a special deal: 50% off a premium subscription to Peacock.