ABC vs. NBC: Different Approaches to Video News Podcasting

I just watched my first video podcast of NBC Nightly News, and I really like it. No commercials from non-NBC sponsors (at least so far); only brief spots highlighting NBC news programming and different means of getting it, along with promos for an early news web site. I guess that would be one way to monetize, by serving ads on that web site, but obviously at least for now the network, which announced some big layoffs and restructuring last month, seems to be focusing on building the NBC brand in this new space.

(As an aside, TiVo has an interesting new service that enables users to play additional web video on their TVs. I guess for some people that will be appealing; I don’t have TiVo, and don’t mind watching video on my laptop screen, or video iPod, or on my TV using my video iPod adaptor.)

NBC Nightly News isn’t available until about four hours after it runs over the air here in the Central zone. But from my perspective, seeing it the next morning on my laptop as I ride the bus into work is just fine.

ABC’s World News podcast, on the other hand, is shorter and does not reflect what goes over the air. It is a different product from the broadcast, and it included (this time) an advertisement from AT&T at the beginning. It wasn’t obtrusive, and I didn’t have any problem with it. On the plus side, I’m watching today’s news this evening instead of having to wait several hours. ABC’s podcast also has a built-in hyperlink that says “click for more” which, on today’s podcast, takes you to this page.


So, I have mixed feelings about their approaches. ABC feels like it has worked out more of a sustainable business model, and that its podcasts could actually be profitable. But it is producing something different for the podcasts as compared to what goes over the air, so it has some expense involved with production that NBC doesn’t. NBC has to delay its podcast to avoid angering local affiliates, so it’s not as timely…but you see the “real” news program featuring Brian Williams, and not something mashed together for podcast.

I have links to both of these podcast sites here, or you can get them through iTunes.

So…what do you think is better? More timely news like ABC’s podcast? Or time-shifted, broadcast-quality content like NBC?

:LATER – ABC’s podcast uses chapters, too, so you can jump to the stories you want to see. So, all in all, ABC’s podcast is really a native podcast, not a re-purposed broadcast like NBC’s.

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Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

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