At lunchtime on a mid-October day, Jill Martin appeared on FaceTime clad in a set of navy-and-white pajamas and perched on some lawn furniture in the backyard of her Long Island, N.Y., home, surrounded by no less than 20 Christmas trees from a store called Rent-a-Christmas and a mountain of fake snow.
Martin, the resident shopping expert on NBC’s “Today” morning show, was filming a two-hour special, “Peacock Presents: Holiday Steals and Deals,” in her backyard for safety reasons and the pajamas — a set from Hale Bob — were among the many items, mainly from small businesses, that she will be featuring.
The first of its kind for the network as more people are expected to shop from home than ever before this holiday season amid the pandemic, the stand-alone shopping show — an extended version of the Steals & Deals franchise — will air Monday at 9 a.m. ET on “Today All Day,” the morning show’s new streaming channel on NBCUniversal’s Peacock and Today.com.
“It’s an interesting way in the pandemic for people to cross off everyone on their list because it’s such a different year for everyone so we’re doing things differently obviously,” Martin said. “We just are trying to invite people to escape for two hours with us without avoiding the obvious that we know a lot of people aren’t with their immediate and extended families and it will be a tough holiday season for a lot of people.”
As well as her family, there will also be virtual appearances by “Today” show’s Al Roker and Dylan Dreyer and celebrity guests Olivia Culpo, Kathie Lee Gifford and Tracy Morgan, all highlighting deals across fashion, beauty, home and kitchen products, which viewers can shop by scanning the ShoppableTV QR code on screen or by visiting Today.com.
NBC has been been delving deeper into shoppable content over the past year and Ashley Parrish, vice president of its custom productions unit and executive editor at Today Digital, hopes this show could become a regular feature.
“We know that Steals & Deals is such a successful ‘Today’ franchise and it started on the show. We’ve expanded it into this innovative digital platform and this is the next extension,” she said. “Obviously, commerce is a big priority for us this year, but it really ties to our other priority this year, which is ‘Today All Day’ — our 24-hour streaming offering that we launched on Peacock and has now expanded to other streaming platforms.”
Other recent commerce initiatives include publishing more than 100 gift guides so far this year and launching the “one great find” newsletter. It has been using QR codes to shop content on TV since 2019.
As for how NBC makes money from this area, it’s based on affiliates, with the network taking a percentage of the sales, but the products they choose to feature begins with editorial and not business, according to Parrish.
“It actually doesn’t start with the business side of it. It starts with editorial. We first look at what are the great products, what are the segments, how do the products fit into the segment, how do they tell a story, do they check all the boxes we want to check for steals and deals — great product, great value, something that will last, all of that,” she continued.
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