As media companies struggle to diversify, the Today Show is cashing in on e-commerce

The Today show has found a healthy revenue supplement by using its televised segments to drive viewers to its e-commerce platform.


March 14, 2019

As the internet and mobile phones increasingly take eyes away from traditional television — therefore ads — many media companies are in a mad dash to find new ways to make money. 

Now, companies from the New York Times to Vox and Buzzfeed are supporting the move into e-commerce, and NBC’s the Today Show is leading the charge.

Fast Company reports that for decades Today has successfully catered to the QVC-loving moms that watch it. But, in 2017, the company decided to lean into its online store as a way to transfer the exposure of its on-air consumer segments into real sales.

That’s where Jill Martin comes in

Jill Martin, who has a lifestyle brand on QVC, and who has hosted Today’s “Steals & Deals,” is now officially joining the show as its lifestyle contributor to help continue the e-commerce push — and it’s working.

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Sources show the e-commerce pursuit brought in $60m in 2018 revenue, with expectations that it will continue to grow in 2019.

Out with the old in with the new — but how?

An end of 2018 report from Business Insider shows that e-commerce is growing nearly 5x faster than in-store sales, and is projected to double to $1.1T by 2023.

That growth is led by consumption on mobile devices — with m-commerce (commerce conducted on mobile phones) sales totaling more than $447B

Wirecutter, which the NYT bought in 2016, contributed to $49.4m brought in by NYT’s “digital other revenue” in Q4 of 2018.

But is selling junk the answer?

In 2016, Today reportedly brought in $509m in ad revenue. Meaning that $60m is still a miniscule piece of the pie.

Megyn Kelly brought in $180m in ad sales alone during her 12 months at NBC. Meaning one year of e-commerce for Today equals about 4 months of Kelly’s ad sales.

But traffic to Today’s “Steals & Deals” shot up over 80% in 2018. Basically, unless a dystopic mobile phone purge blankets the globe in 2019, there’s a good chance that growth will continue.

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