There's no doubt in my mind NBC Universal had to do something given their falling ratings. The former kings of Thursday night TV not only sold themselves to Comcast, who, aside from Frank Eliason's superb rock star group of customer service people, sit near the bottom of customer service experience ratings all the time, but they are in the midst of probably what was the worst handling of a crisis of stars on late night TV ever, if not all times of TV. I mean of course, Jay Leno's and Conan O'Briiiiiiiiiii-en's ratings debacle - the one leading to Jay back at the Tonight Show and Conan leaving NBC for a cool $33 million.
So what does NBC Universal do so they can have some positive press for a change? They ally with KickApps, the social platform that I had on my three month revisit list a couple of weeks ago.
Actually, kidding aside, this is a good deal for both NBC Universal and KickApps. NBC is getting what is a solid platform for community development, content development and management; one that integrates social media tools such as blogs, video and audio, and that provides a comments, ratings and ranking engine. They also have some useful and rather cool bells and whistles such as integration with Joomla and a social graph engine that creates a highly detailed social graph of a company's web property's network that can be used for targeted advertising, among other things. My (do)main concern is that while they have a pretty solid enterprise product they for some reason, haven't done what their competitors are all beginning to do which is to integrate with CRM systems, at least as far as I know. For a company of their size and quality, this is a bad oversight. Hopefully, they'll rectify that. But, even without that, they still provide the kind of scalable platform that will benefit enterprise level entertainment giants.
According to the KickApps press release, NBC Universal clearly understands the value of social media, and community tools. Witness this statement:
NBC Local Media attributes the growth of sites such as nbcnewyork.com (WNBC-TV), nbcchicago.com (WMAQ-TV) and nbcphiladelphia.com (WCAU-TV) to the inclusion of more social-media tools, allowing visitors to interact with one another and the content on the site.
- Visitors to the 10 Web sites doubled from 6 million in Nov. 2008 to 12 million in Oct. 2009.
- Page views are up 296 percent from 29 million to 113 million
Its hard to say with the language there whether or not KickApps is responsible for the growth, though I'd almost have to say "no" because of how its worded. Either way, KickApps is in a position to help NBC Universal engage their customers better than they have - which isn't saying much for NBC Universal, but says a lot about KickApps.
For KickApps, this is the kind of high profile win that propels them into the sight of both a larger audience and a more select audience who are influencers in various communities and various industry segments. A win-win. Plus KickApps, I presume, could make a boatload of revenue from this.
All in all, deals like this support the idea that customer engagement is top of mind for the enterprise. You think if Conan had known that this deal was coming down, he would have stayed?
Sure he would have.