NBC “Listens,” Leads Online

NBC had the most traffic of U.S. TV network sites in March, with a 37 percent share of visits, according to a Hitwise report emailed to NewTeeVee. Its partner in the as-yet-unnamed video site, Fox, came in fourth with a little over 8 percent — but NBC and Fox were both up over February, with second-place ABC and third-place CBS down. NBC has done a good job of tying its televised properties to more, and more interactive, content online.

Hitwise Network Web Share Data, March 2007

“One of the best aspects of the digital space is that it’s a two way street,” said NBC’s Digital Entertainment and New Media VP Vivi Zigler in a recent press release touting online efforts to promote popular shows like The Office, 30 Rock and Heroes.

The Office HR Nightmares

For instance, users can submit both written and video stories about their own human resources disasters in a site dedicated to the HR manager character on The Office, Toby. And a quote game for the show was developed based on what users were already doing in the forums.

A Heroes feature starting April 9 leverages a character’s convenient unique super power to “hear the internet” to allow fans to participate in the story. It’s sounds similar to the “Lost Experience” put on by ABC during Lost‘s hiatus last summer, though NBC promises the story will pay off in the April 23 episode.

Similar to the The L-Word‘s use of a plot revolving around online social network Ourchart, online efforts and plot points are coming together.

As product placements, such tie-ins can come off as ham-handed, like Heroes character Hiro Nakamura’s constant mentions of his Nissan Versa. But that’s the kind of transparent “marketing synergy” that I’ve come to know and derive ironically detached amusement from, if not love.

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