NBC’s Today this morning launched its first digital cover story. The morning show is looking for ways to reach younger audiences—who are increasingly leaving the linear broadcast—and doing more stories focusing on newsmakers and cultural figures is seen as a way of penetrating that segment.
These digital cover stories will be published quarterly and mimic the look and feel of traditional lifestyle magazines like People, Good Housekeeping, Vogue and InStyle.
NBC News senior vice president Libby Leist told Variety’s Brian Steinberg that the team is trying to bring down audience age across the Today brand. Using social and digital platforms is an ideal way of achieving that goal.
Today’s digital stories will also be seen on the linear TV show and across its social media channels. Actor Issa Rae gets the honor of being the first cover story and made an appearance during the “PopStart” segment on the 8 am hour of the Today show. She will also do a ten-minute interview during Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager’s 10 a.m. Today hour.
Having Rae featured throughout Today’s many platforms is a good move by the news brand, as it lets celebrities and influencers know about the exposure capabilities available if they work with Today.
“We are definitely in a competitive space—and the advantage we have is the amplification of content across different platforms,” says Leist. “Nobody else has a broadcast, a digital site, a streaming channel, radio shows from SiriusXM and a podcast and newsletters.”
NBC is investing heavily in Today as it seeks to bring in younger audiences, which means more ad revenue beyond what it gets from its morning show. It has hired more reporters to cover issues like pop culture, health, parenting and trending coverage.
In June, Today.com published 1300 original text pieces, a record for the website.