Streaming is the new frontier as TV networks increase their investments in online video and the number of viewers grows.
From January to October 2021, viewers watched more than 215 million hours of streaming across all NBCU News Group platforms. NBC News NOW had 115% more viewers in that period from a year earlier.
Hallie Jackson, host of the new streaming news show “Hallie Jackson NOW,” is joined by NBC News’ Senior Vice President of Editorial Janelle Rodriguez, NBC News NOW Executive Producer Joey Cole, and Laura Conaway, executive producer of “The Choice from MSNBC” on Peacock TV. The following excerpts have been edited for length and clarity.
Hallie Jackson: Why do you love being in the streaming space so much?
Joey Cole: I love it because it allows us to be creative. We can tell news in a different way. We band together and it’s like, “Let’s try it and if it works, fabulous. If it doesn’t, we’ll change it up.” And I think the creativity is really what I love most about this.
Laura Conaway: Because it is all new, it challenges you as a producer, as a storyteller to use more of what you’re able to do. You’re running at a high level all the time and that feels really great.
Janelle Rodriguez: I love that we have a much lighter commercial outlet. And we really get to focus on bringing people the best of our content. And anything goes, in the sense that we’re not held to the same format and the same structures that we are in other longer established news genres. We really can be experimental, take some risks and also really focusing on what is interesting to people and what is a good use of their time on any given day.
Jackson: Do you think somebody in their early [journalism] career space should come to the streaming side?
Cole: There is so much growth on the streaming side, there’s so much opportunity. I will give an example. We had a production assistant and she’s fabulous. She was a production assistant last year, but because she was diligent and her hustle game was so high, within a year she became a producer with NBC News NOW. That is extraordinary growth and that doesn’t happen on the other platforms. So, if you are a hustler, if you are good at what you do and you work to improve your craft, you can go anywhere. Like, it’s limitless.
We talk about streaming as the future, but streaming is now. And so, I tell younger people who are looking for career advice, where should they go? I say “Go to streaming,” because you will get more opportunities to grow. I think there’s a bit of freedom that you have to really voice your opinions, where I think on other platforms, because there is a structure, when you are at an entry level, that opportunity is less.
Jackson: So you feel like people might feel more empowered to have a voice at the table?
Cole: Absolutely. The way we run our team is everyone has a voice. All boats rise together. And I have to say, honestly, our best original content, I would say 50% to 60% of the time, it comes from our production assistants and their pitches. They write, they work with the reporter, they shoot, they edit and what you see is literally a product of their labor. They take it from the ground up. And I am so proud of all the work that everyone’s put into NBC News NOW.