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NBC Universal exec: Mobile crowdsourcing gives local deals scale

NEW YORK ? An NBC Universal executive at the Think Commerce Summit said that marketers can give scale to their daily deal initiatives by taking advantage of a media company?s mobile audience.

During the ?Breaking Down the Wall ? Why Some People Can Sell Things to Their Audiences and Others Can?t? executives from CBS Local Digital Media, NBC Universal, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Discount Vouchers and Entercom spoke about how the challenges that media companies face in the local deal space. The panel was moderated by Jim Moran, cofounder/president of Yipit, New York.

?One of the challenges for media companies ? particularly media companies that may not be as local as ours ? is sometimes scaling the local approach,? said Nick Lehman, president of digital at NBC Universal?s Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media division, New York.

?One of the things that we have done with one of our brands ? DailyCandy ? is that we recently introduced a new mobile application called DailyCandy Scout and we are getting to a commerce position with it by enable crowdsourcing,? he said.

?So bringing in our audience to discover the things that they love, that they want to buy and they want to acquire, and that helps us actually scale.?
Mobile in multichannel strategy
NBC Universal-owned Daily Candy recently launched a mobile app that lets consumers share and find curated content. The app also includes weekly challenges that users can participate in.

By letting users browse through the app?s content for things that interest them, NBC Universal is able to create more tailored and personalized content.

This also points to the lines diminishing between editorial and advertising content for media brands.

Consumers are getting smart about knowing that there are blurred lines between what media brands are selling and the editorial content that accompanies it.

The challenge comes in with business plans that most content companies are not currently prepared for.

Another one of NBC Universal?s businesses ? Fandango ? is also seeing strong success with mobile. More than 30 percent of movie tickets sales come through mobile devices, per Mr. Lehman.

Television also poses a big opportunity for media companies to tie commerce into content. The medium remains to be the preferred way that consumers learn about new products that they want to buy, according to new research from Nielsen Co. that the NBC Universal exec cited.

"We think there is a really huge opportunity in terms of tcommerce ? there are lots of people who have experimented with it," Mr. Lehman said.

For example, NBC Universal recently partnered with American Express on a commerce-enabled campaign inside second screen-viewing mobile app Zeebox to let users shop from their handsets while watching programs on networks such as Bravo and E. Daily Candy then curated related merchandise that consumers can buy inside the app (see story). 

Not an island
Tim Murphy, vice president of digital strategy and enterprise platforms at Entercom, Bala Cynwyd, PA spoke on the session about how digital cannot be siloed with daily deal efforts.

?Ecommerce is one avenue in which we can get our engaged fans,? Mr. Murphy said.

?Ecommerce is one thread to creating an addressable, targetable relationship with our listener is the end goal, and so if you just look at ecommerce as a stand-alone business within a broadcaster like us, I don't think it's a great deal," he said. "If you look at it as a gateway to create a larger, addressable relationship with your listeners, it has high value."

Through ecommerce, the company can drive consumers to a live event or concert to drive consumer purchases, for example.

Instead, digital marketing needs to be included into a holistic way that media companies connect with consumers.

Traditional media such as television and radio lets media companies reach a mass audience quickly.

However, the future will be for media companies to get in front of consumers in multiple ways, whether it is through new marketing mediums such as email, SMS or online advertising or from traditional marketing such as TV.

Missed revenue opportunities
According to Peter Minnium, head of digital brand initiatives at the IAB, New York, it is difficult for media companies to sell things.

Although there are tons of digital marketing campaigns being used by media companies, very few allow for direct transactions.

?It?s ironic that we are here talking about media companies and we are actually jumping over advertisers,? Mr. Minnium said.

?There is very little digital advertising that is ecommerce-enabled and allows for a transaction within the page,? he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York