National Broadcasting Company: Marketing and Promotion



The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) was founded on November 15, 1926. NBC began as a joint venture of mass communication pioneers RCA, AT&T, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation, but is now a Comcast subsidiary under the NBCUniversal umbrella. The company began as a radio broadcasting company before expanding to broadcast television in 1939 with its broadcast of the opening ceremonies of the New York World’s Fair. By 1951 its broadcasts reached from coast to coast and soon after achieving that, did so in full color. NBC pioneered many staples of broadcast television content from early morning news platforms like The Today Show which premiered in 1952 and the late night programs like The Tonight Show which premiered in 1954 (Erickson, n.d.). NBC is one of the big three, now big four, broadcast television networks and is currently ranked second among those networks in viewership (Schneider, 2015).


NBC has won more Emmy Awards for its broadcast content than any other television network in history. NBC’s broadcast television division can be separated into five major categories: NBC Entertainment, NBC News, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports, and Telemundo. NBC Entertainment produces hit TV dramas like The Blacklist and Law and Order: SVU , reality programs like The Voice and The Biggest Loser, and finally late night programs including The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers. NBC News is the undisputed global leader “in news across all broadcast and digital platforms” and is home to programs including The Today Show, Meet the Press, and Dateline. NBC Olympics has won 95 Emmys and has hosted every Summer Olympics since 1988 and every Winter Olympics since 2002. NBC Sports is home to a myriad of major sports leagues from the NFL to NASCAR and is also responsible for broadcasting more unique programs like the Tour de France and Triple Crown Races. The crowing jewels of NBC’s sports content is Sunday Night Football which receives consistently massive audiences from year to year. Its final segment, Telemundo, is the second largest provider of Spanish-language content worldwide and can be viewed in 100 countries in 35 different languages (NBCUniversal, n.d.).

Business Model

The business model of broadcast television networks can be simplified down to one principle, higher viewership of the network’s content generates higher advertising revenue from outside companies. The business model, however, is in a time of change currently as television viewership steadily declines in today’s world. As the means of consuming content continues to grow, viewers are no longer required to watch a program as it is broadcast live, which has resulted in networks being forced to expand the ways in which they market their shows to viewers (McGrath, 2013). Broadcast networks spent $5.4 Billion dollars marketing their own content in 2015 across television, online, and various other platforms. NBC’s president of marketing, Len Fogge, remains adamant that “TV in general is the best medium for reaching people,” but all marketing content has to create social buzz that emanates outward to platforms beyond just television (Perlberg, 2015).

Revenue Model

Like the business model of the broadcast television industry, the revenue model is also in flux and under heavy scrutiny. Obviously, as ratings steadily decline, it is more and more difficult for networks to demand massive payouts for advertising spots. In today’s market, thirty second advertising spots can still draw six figures prices due to the simple fact that television reaches the widest audience of any media platform (Crupi, 2015). To illustrate the massive amount of advertising revenue being generated by broadcasting networks one can consider Sunday Night Football. For an advertiser to purchase a thirty second advertising spot during Sunday Night Football it is forced to pay, on average, $665,375 per unit. That figure is thirteen times the median yearly household income in the United States. Despite the fact that advertising revenue is still, for the moment, a massive source of income for broadcast networks, television executives have grown increasingly more weary of the future. Jeff Zucker, the former CEO of NBCUniversal, recognized this shift in the broadcast world and can be quoted discussing his fears of broadcast television “becoming [like] the automobile [or] newspaper industry” (Arango, 2009).

The Future

The way our society consumes television content is continuously changing. As we are presented with more sophisticated and simple ways of viewing programs, our likelihood to subscribe to “appointment viewing” of television programs greatly diminishes. With the exception of events like The Super Bowl and award shows like The Grammys which still thrive as special events, TV viewership is down across the board (Crupi, 2015). While television marketing is still the best way to reach a large audience in 2016, networks are becoming increasingly more active in online and digital marketing. Social media is quickly coming to the forefront of marketing strategies as it is a way for networks to engage directly with viewers (Perlberg, 2015). While their means of marketing their shows continues to change, broadcast networks must continue to strive to achieve their long standing goal, to increase viewership for their programs to generate advertising revenue and continue to demand high payouts for advertising spots.


Andreeva, N. (2011, August 04). It’s Official: NBC Names Len Fogge As New Head Of Marketing, Adam Stotsky Exits. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

Arango, T. (2009, February 27). Broadcast TV Faces Struggle to Stay Viable. Retrieved     February 18, 2016, from                     

Comcast. (2013, December 3). NBC and Universal Timeline. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from

Comcast. (2014). NBC Universal, Inc. – Annual Report. Retrieved February 7, 2016, from

Crupi, A. (2015, September 15). Here’s How Much Ad Time in NFL Games Costs Marketers This Season. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

De Mores, L. (2014, April 25). NBC’s Cross-Promotion Strategy Hits New Heights On Seth                     Meyers’ ‘Late Night’: Video. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from msnbc-nightly-news-dateline-late-night-719876/

Ember, S. (2015). Comcast and NBCUniversal Open Cross-Promotional Ad Strategy. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from

Erickson, H. L. (n.d.). National Broadcasting Co., Inc. (NBC) | American corporation. Retrieved February 17, 2016, from

Lieberman, D. (2015, April 28). NBCU Teams With AOL To Cross-Promote And Co-Produce     Web And TV Content. Retrieved February 6, 2016, from

List of Private Companies Worldwide, Letter. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2016, from

McGrath, R. (2013, April 24). Broadcast TV Needs a New Business Model. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

NBC TV Network | Shows, Episodes, Schedule. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

NBC, Yahoo Forge Cross-Promotion Deal For Sochi Games With Hopes Of Traffic Boosts.(2013, December 16). Retrieved February 7, 2016, from         

NBCUniversal Media, LLC: Board Committees & Members. (n.d.). Retrieved February 6, 2016,  from

Our History. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

Perlberg, S. (2015, September 18). How Broadcasters Are Marketing Their Fall Shows — On and Off TV. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from                                                                

Schnider, M. (2015, December 28). Most Watched Television Networks: Ranking 2015’s Winners and Losers. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from                                             

Steinberg, B. (2015, September 29). TV Ad Prices: Football, ‘Empire,’ ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Big  Bang Theory’ Top The List. Retrieved February 7, 2016, from         

TopTen . (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2016, from

Tuss, V. (2011, September 6). NFL-NBC cross-promotion: What are they missing? Retrieved February 7, 2016, from

Who We Are. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2016, from



This entry was posted in Broadcast television. Bookmark the permalink.