NBC Launches the Next Generation of E-Books
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In 2009 the brains at Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and GE (NYSE: GE) announced a new venture that would give both companies ownership of the National Broadcasting Company otherwise known as NBC. Since then Comcast has become the proud owner of 51% of NBC while GE holds 49%. The conglomerate is now known as NBC Universal.
A few days ago NBC Universal revealed the launch of a new e-book imprint called NBC Publishing that will release enhanced version e-books that contain videos. The concept is to take a standard e-book format and incorporate archived video footage at key intervals to support written content.
Considering the evolution of Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, seeing other media giants hopping onto the bandwagon was not unexpected. NBC boasts almost a million hours of footage that they are seeking to use in their e-publications. The company is looking to publish 30 titles in the first year of operation.
Last year NBC got its feet wet in the e-book imprint business by working with Penguin and the privately owned Perseus Books Group. Penguin is a subsidiary of Pearson PLC (NYSE: PSO) established in 1935 as a high quality, inexpensive publisher of paperback books sold through Woolworth’s and other “five and dimes”. Penguin has a long history of jumping into progressive publishing trends and distinctive methods of advertising, so working with NBC was just par for the course for the company.
Together, NBC, Penguin, and Perseus Books issued enhanced titles such as JFK: 50 days, Roots, Berlin 1961, and D-Day: The Battle for Normandy. Future titles will include both current events as well as historical ones while working with both well-known authors and fledgling writers.
NBC has brought publishing veterans Peter Costanzo (formerly of F+W Media and Perseus Books) and Brian Perrin (formerly of Rodale) to help ensure the success of the new publishing division. Costanzo will take the position of Creative Director while Perrin will serve as the Director of Digital Development. NBC has placed Michael Fabiano as General Manager of NBC Publishing.
When one looks at the elevated sales of e-readers and iPads it is easy to see why NBC chose to go into the publishing arena. Add to NBC’s archives the licensing they are negotiating for from Comcast and the company shows signs of a strong and profitable upcoming year.
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