NBC rolls the dice on new media

It was at the 1939 New York World's Fair that NBC's David Sarnoff introduced television to the American public. Last week, another NBC executive told Madison Avenue that the Peacock network is now looking beyond television for its future.

Stuck at fourth place in the ratings for viewers most sought by advertisers — those aged 18 to 49 — NBC is counting on digital media as much as television for a comeback in the 2006-2007 season, the New York Times reported.

“No longer is content just for the television screen,” said Jeff Zucker, chief executive at the NBC Universal Television Group, at last week's upfront presentation for advertisers in New York City.

If NBC's new strategy is successful, it would draw advertising dollars away from traditional television broadcasting to new ventures on the Web and a variety of mobile platforms.

In fact, the network made it clear it's ready to sell commercial time on programming for a variety of new media outlets. “We have more than 100 ideas ready to go,” Zucker said.

Among the new NBC initiatives are a broadband comedy channel, offering computer users archives of shows such as "Leave It to Beaver;" a chance for viewers to create their own content to podcasts, and an animated digital comic book based on characters and plot lines from "Heroes," a drama series being scheduled for Monday night next fall.