NBC and Comcast Want to Centralize E-Commerce

Posted on January 15, 2019

Lost in the news of NBC’s announcement of the foundation of a streaming service is the fact that NBC, and its parent Comcast, is pivoting toward an increased online presence — including one in e-commerce.

Last year, Comcast attempted to acquire FOX, and did acquire Sky. That deal was for 55 billion dollars. What wasn’t reported so much was that Comcast acquired a Denver site called Craftsy for 230 million dollars. Craftsy was a site “which provided video lessons on traditional crafts and hobbies such as sewing, knitting and woodworking, and sold supplies to help pursue those crafts and hobbies.” Now, it’s a sign of much more to come.

Craftsy has been reborn as Bluprint, expanding well beyond the realm of crafting, into fields like photography, writing, art, and other skills. Think Skillshare, but with a video-on-demand service model that can also sell you the necessary items to do the skill you’re learning. “The site… mixes the traditional “Three Cs” of Content, Community and Commerce with a fourth, Celebrities/Influencers.” These are the four C’s of e-commerce. Find any article in our blog and we’ve stressed these four components at some point. NBC has found them all at once.

This type of centralization is almost certainly the way of the future. NBC is releasing content that teaches a skill, and entices viewers to come back and augment their skills with new skills. By utilizing influencers, and possibly celebrities, NBC is creating a community where customers can feel closer to people they admire, all while learning. Then the money is made by selling items that will help out, all without leaving the site. 

Bluprint is almost certainly going to be matched by a company in the future. The aforementioned Skillshare, or sites like MasterClass could easily replicate the model. Other streaming services may offer the option to buy merchandise as well. It’s hard to imagine a Disney streaming service (which is long-rumored, and all but confirmed) without the option to buy something from The Mouse.

All of this is to say, the more centralized your site is, the better your brand will be. By creating content, using community and celebrity to incentivize people to consume that content, and pairing that with easily accessible consumable products, you’ll find that people are less likely to leave your site, and more likely to purchase goods.

Comcast and NBC are showing us a glimpse at the future of e-commerce, and we should pay attention. Your brand can learn from this, and it should lead you to control your content from start to finish.