May 17, 2022 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: "Meet the Press" plans digital rebrand

Photo courtesy of NBCU

NBC News is doubling down on the digital transformation of its flagship political show "Meet the Press" by rebranding its separate website for the franchise, overhauling its flagship political newsletter and adding a new blog.

Why it matters: The efforts come days after NBC News announced that Chuck Todd's daily "Meet the Press" show would move from MSNBC at 1 p.m. to the network's 24/7 news streaming service NBC News Now at 4 p.m.

  • "Really where we are putting a lot of our time, attention and investment is on these other platforms," said Carrie Budoff Brown, senior vice president of "Meet the Press" at NBC News. "This is where we see our growth."

Details: The new digital products will be rolled out in June in conjunction with the daily "Meet the Press" streaming show launch on NBC News Now and will be promoted via NBC News' digital channels.

  • Budoff Brown, who joined NBC News from Politico last year, said the changes will help make NBC News' political journalism, which is anchored by the "Meet the Press" franchise, "more accessible this election year."
  • NBC News plans to add more exclusive reporting from the campaign trail to its political coverage, which will live under the "Meet the Press" umbrella.

The new website will become a repository for all "Meet the Press" shows and coverage, as well as all of NBC News' coverage of the 2022 midterms and future elections.

  • The new "Meet the Press" blog will house breaking news from the "Meet the Press" team and NBC News' political unit, which Budoff Brown also oversees.
  • The franchise will add a new show podcast in June for the "Meet the Press" daily show that's moved over to streaming, in addition to its two existing podcasts, the weekly "Chuck ToddCast," and the show podcast for the "Meet the Press" on Sundays.
  • NBC News will overhaul its flagship political newsletter "First Read" with a new design, graphics and data visualizations that can better illustrate the latest polling and research from NBC News' political team.
  • The "Meet the Press" franchise also plans to add more election specials to its video coverage in the coming months leading up to the midterms as it experiments with different show formats on NBC News Now.
  • The first special will air Tuesday around the midterms and will be co-anchored by Todd and NBC News chief White House correspondent Kristen Welker.

By the numbers: About 50 people report to Budoff Brown across the "Meet the Press: franchise and NBC News' political unit.

  • Most of that staff touches digital products. For example, the team that produces the network's flagship Sunday show also produces "Meet the Press Reports," a weekly streaming show on Peacock that goes deep on a single topic.
  • Budoff Brown plans to add around a half dozen more positions to the "Meet the Press" franchise in the coming months, with most of the roles will focus on digital products.
  • NBC News Now had its best quarter on record from January through March with nearly 100 million hours streamed, a spokesperson told Axios.

In addition to a digital rebrand, the company will move its annual "Meet the Press" film festival from D.C. to New York in November and will be a part of Doc NYC, the country's largest documentary film festival.

  • The move, Budoff Brown said, will showcase the "Meet the Press" political documentaries alongside NBC News Studios' documentary unit and MSNBC films, a division of MSNBC that produces and acquires documentaries.
  • The Meet the Press Film Festival has aired over 100 political documentaries over five years.

The big picture: The transition of Meet the Press' daily show to streaming has been the franchise's biggest step towards becoming a digital-first brand after decades of cementing an audience on television.

  • "We're taking the entrepreneurial, experimental point of view that Chuck has shown for the past seven-eight years and turbo-charging that," Budoff Brown said, referring to Chuck Todd, who anchors all of the "Meet the Press" video shows and serves as the NBC News' political director.
  • Budoff Brown recently hired a new content strategy team, led by longtime "Meet the Press" vet Matt Rivera, to help expand the brand to other platforms, like TikTok, where NBC News already has a large presence.

Disclosure: NBC is an investor in Axios and Sat Brainch, chief commercial officer of NBCU News Group, is a member of the Axios board. Axios journalists appear on MSNBC.

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