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NBC Universal Launching Digital Programming Initiative

15 Apr, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Cast from original "Heroes" TV series

Programming slate would be ad-supported and distributed via VOD and subscription streaming channels

NBC Universal April 15 announced it is bowing a digital initiative aimed at creating programming around advertising brands specifically for video-on-demand and other digital channels.

Debuting first on various digital platforms, including Hulu and VOD, this companywide initiative is designed to connect advertising brands with digital consumers. NBC Universal didn’t elaborate how collaboration between advertisers and program creators would work.

NBC Universal co-owns Hulu with 21st Century Fox and The Walt Disney Co.

The media company said creative teams from cable and broadcast networks, in addition to its Creative Innovation Agency, would work together to create programming for viewers who frequent digital platforms.

“The combination of digital video alongside television content is extremely powerful and becoming an increasingly important part of the connection advertisers make with consumers,” Linda Yaccarino, president of advertising sales for NBC Universal, said in a statement. “We want to offer our partners the unique ability to harness the power of our creative assets along with our distribution capabilities including the VOD platform like no other company can do.”

Universal Cable Productions will unveil more than a dozen original digital video projects, including series “Tesla and Twain” and “Last Single Girl.”

“Tesla and Twain” is a comedy loosely based on the real friendship between the author (Mark Twain) and the great inventor (Nikola Tesla) …  if they were suddenly transported to modern day Los Angeles. “Last Single Girl” tells the story of a single, over-educated and under-employed young woman who is coming to terms with being a grown-up while all of her best friends are getting married.

“Much of the un-captured value in the online world can be unlocked with smart collaborations between creators and clients,” Jeff Wachtel, president and chief content officer of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the company will debut “Saturday Night Line,” an interactive digital series featuring the hardcore fans who wait in the “Saturday Night Live” standby line outside of 30 Rockefeller Center. The series marks the first original programming for NBC.com.

In addition, “Heroes Reborn: Digital Series” is the online prequel to the previously announced “Heroes” TV miniseries slated to launch with new characters in 2015. The original “Heroes” series aired from 2006 to 2010 and starred Hayden Panettiere, among others.

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