Today, more than ever, it’s important for news organizations to stay connected with their audience and find new ways to reach those who might not already be connected. NBC News continues to be the leader in news by reaching its audience not only on broadcast, but on social media platforms like TikTok.
During this year’s VidCon in Anaheim, Calif.,—the world’s leading conference of digital creators, platform innovators, and fans—NBC News executives Chris Berend, evp of digital for the NBCU News Group; Catherine Kim, svp of global digital news; and Janelle Rodriguez, svp of NBC News NOW, joined Axios’ Kerry Flynn to discuss how NBC News continues to revolutionize multiplatform video.
More and more news outlets are turning to daily podcasts to reach their audiences on the go and—as media companies like Spotify and Apple continue to invest in growing their podcast networks—it further proves the point of how important it is that news organizations enter the audio space to engage existing and new customers.
“We are piloting a daily podcast for Stay Tuned, just in the very early stages,” said Kim. To continue to grow its Gen Z-focused Stay Tuned channel, NBC News is planning on bringing it to the audio realm, while maintaining its presence on Snapchat and TikTok. “One of the beauties of NBC and the power of working at a place like NBC is we have so many beat reporters now who are covering Gen Z-focus stories—issues close to home for them—and we’re able to leverage that when appropriate across the omni channel universe that is NBCU and it’s been an incredible success,” Kim continued.
NBCU’s NBC News NOW is a free ad-supported service that is growing and reaching new viewers every day. “Last quarter alone, I’ll just give you an example in terms of scale, we had 100 million hours viewed—and that’s just in the first quarter. And we just keep blowing through all of our projections in terms of audience growth,” Rodriguez said.
With its accessibility on streamers like Peacock, Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV, the service is putting itself right in the midst of Gen Z viewers. Likewise, millennials are turning to services like that over accessing NBC News via cable like their parents. “Part of that is the pandemic obviously really shifted people more rapidly on to streaming and then the saturation of smart TVs in this country,” Rodriguez emphasized.
Staying authentic to your brand, but trying to reach new audiences is a tightrope that many media companies struggle with. When NBC News decided to take on TikTok, it knew it had to be in a way that was true to the brand, but also digestible for the Gen Z audience. It saw a prime example of this with coverage on the war in Ukraine.
“We saw through our early coverage of the invasion in Ukraine that there was an audience deeply engaged, wanted every update we could share with them about the latest happening in Ukraine,” said Kim. For many of NBC News’ followers on TikTok this was their first time experiencing something like this on a platform and format that they could understand. With NBC News coverage, people and other media companies saw firsthand how the platform is not just for trending dances, but a tool for visual news storytelling as well. “There’s an opportunity to provide trusted, reliable news and journalism on that platform,” Kim continued.
As NBC News continues to expand its reach on new platforms, it demonstrates how it is possible to be on multiple platforms as long as brands utilize them in a way that makes sense to the audiences they are targeting.