Looks like another traditional media powerhouse wants to be involved with those succeeding on YouTube.
According to Lori Conkling, NBCUniversal’s executive vice president of strategy and business development, the company is looking into purchasing YouTube MCNs across multiple genres, especially those dedicated to women. Per Variety, which reported on her comments from the VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit in New York this week, Conkling said: “We are looking across the spectrum to see which [online networks] align with the verticals that are important to us.” NBCUniversal sees the “opportunity” in buying or investing in YouTube-based media companies, she added. “We want to be where the audience is. We want to be relevant.”
Even though NBCU doesn’t have any active deals in the works, no one would be surprised if the company decided to go for it and buy an MCN. It’s been one of the biggest trends of the past year: a traditional media company swooping in to purchase or invest in a YouTube channel/network. Discovery Communications set a precedent in 2012 when it purchased Revision3 in May of 2012 (Discovery and Revision3 also purchased DeFranco Creative just last week). Conkling’s thought process, “We want to be where the audience is. We want to be relevant,” also mirrors the same audience interest that led to DreamWorks purchasing AwesomenessTV back in late April.
At one point, Conkling mentioned how NBCUniversal’s portfolio of TV and cable networks could be used to drive viewership to YouTube channels it has some sort of stake in, which isn’t all that different from existing old-media/new-media marriages.
Conkling did express minor reservations about a flat-out purchase: “There’s not a lot of money in a YouTube channel,” she said, claiming that NBCU’s interest is more related to what the online channels could be. She also emphasized that NBCU currently has no active deals in the works.