Net Effect: NBC site shows it has 'Talent'

Network on top with reality as peacock shifts to fall series

NEW YORK -- NBC Universal might be losing its place on Apple's iTunes platform, but the continued momentum of the network's official Web site could offset some of its lost audience.

According to Nielsen//NetRatings, NBC.com was the most-visited broadcast media destination in July with 12 million unique visitors. ABC and CBS registered slightly more than 5 million visitors each, while Fox had about 4 million.

In August, NBC had been on top in weekly metrics with about 4 million visitors per week, while the other networks hovered around 2 million.

The biggest reason for NBC's online success this summer has been "America's Got Talent," which debuted June 26 and has seen impressive ratings on the broadcast and digital side. Vivi Zigler, executive vp digital entertainment at NBC, said that the show's site was the top Web draw for the network this summer, receiving 1 million unique visitors in July along with "millions" of online streams.

"We followed the competition really closely," said Zigler, who added that "Passions" and "Deal or No Deal" also were popular online. "People got to see great clips and have fun and interact with it."

As the summer leads into the fall premiere season, Zigler said the challenge has now shifted to getting users excited for upcoming slate. Last month, the site presented various promotions for its hit "Heroes," and it is preparing to launch the previously announced social networking features.

NBC Uni's partnership with Amazon's Unbox also could soften the blow from the loss of iTunes. Last week, the network said that it will make its new fall offerings available on the platform and will offer discount options for bundling its shows, a provision that NBC said Apple was reluctant to enact.

With about 51 million visitors in July, Amazon was the eighth-most-popular Web parent company for the month. Apple's iTunes had 31 million visitors.

NBC Uni also has high hopes for Hulu, the joint online Web video venture with News Corp., which also will present network shows. Along with the stand-alone site, the network hopes to tap into the audience of such Web giants as Time Warner's AOL, Yahoo and News' MySpace, all of which will distribute Hulu content.

Nielsen//NetRatings is owned by the Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter.
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