With NBC broadcasting the Summer Olympics in 2008, the Super Bowl in 2009, and a high-profile presidential election waiting in the wings, Doug Holloway’s promotion to president of NBC Network Distribution Partnerships and Affiliate Marketing could not have come at a better time.
While some analysts have predicted the death of network broadcast television, Holloway plans to turn the economic model for network revenue on its head.
“Ideally, I would like to generate carriage revenue that rivals carriage revenue for some of the major cable networks,” says Holloway, who began his career at the USA Network in 1983. NBC wants to be paid for its programming, he says.
“One of the biggest challenges is the mind-set of television owners and operators that heretofore were paid or [didn’t pay] for the carriage of the broadcast network programming,” Holloway says. “There is not an even playing field. Some stations have very robust advertising sales and others do not. Changing behavior and perspective is a huge hurdle that we will have to overcome.”
Holloway is responsible for NBC’s affiliate relations strategy and interaction with NBC’s 233 affiliate stations across several platforms. Holloway also has executive supervision of the NBC Affiliate Marketing group. “We’re expecting big things out of Doug,” says John Eck, president of NBC TV Network and Media Works. “He has a deep experience base, a strong background in sales and advertising in the affiliate side, and he has deep connections into the broader television industry. Those are a great fit for where we are at NBC.”
Despite the network’s lower ratings this season, Jeffrey Sprague, a Citigroup industry analyst, wrote in a report that NBC had a strong fourth quarter in 2007, with the broadcaster recording double-digit growth for the first time in two years. For the first quarter in 2008, Sprague expects that the broadcaster’s revenue will grow approximately 10% with operating profits up 5% to 10% year over year.
“It is a statement the broadcast business is not dead, which a lot of people have predicted,” Holloway says. “I don’t think it’s even on life support. We aregoing to prove that there is a great upside to the business going forward.”