NBC Universal is hosting its first UK hackathon

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/Paul Velgos)

US-based entertainment giant, NBC Universal, is holding a hackathon in the UK next month in the search for new innovation. The event is titled "The Future of Content Creation, Distribution, and Monetisation in a Connected World" and is being led by NBC Universal's Media Labs Division - a new $72 million (£44 million) innovation hub at the company. 

The 36 hour event follows an NBC Universal hackathon in Orlando, Florida which attracted 170 participants and 42 teams from across the US. It takes place at the Impact Hub in Westminster, London on the weekend of June 6th - 7th and has a range of heavyweight partners including; Oculus, Unity, Blippar, IBM Watson, and more. 

Participants will be kept topped-up with caffeine and food throughout the weekend. The winner will walk away with a £7,500 prize, whilst four category winners will also win £1,000 each. 

The four categories are: 

1. Gifting Digital Content 

Holidays and birthdays just wouldn’t be the same without the gift of entertainment. For 40 years, films and TV shows have found their way under trees or wrapped in ribbons, as perfectly matched gifts to elated recipients. The digital revolution has challenged this tradition, and gifting a digital film or gift card lacks the elegance and emotion of its physical counterpart. 

Your challenge is to rejuvenate this practice, and make both gifting and receiving content a social interaction that can turn digital bits into physical excitement. Using NBCUniversal content, platforms and software provided by our technology partners, and the APIs of various social networks and digital storefronts, create opportunity for someone to give the perfect gift to a loved one. The key here is ease of use and technical utility. A successful solution will be simple, fun and multi-platform – allowing the gift giver to buy without knowing what device the film will be download to, because the gift receiver can download the film on a variety of devices. 

2. Driving Social interaction Within a Subscription Service 

Netflix, Amazon, Blinkbox -- the world is full of subscription video services. But while the content they hold may have mass appeal, and all your friends may be watching it, the experience within the service is a lonely and solitary one. Your challenge is to create social experiences within a subscription video service that help drive audiences to discover and consume more content, to drive return rates, reduce churn and maximise linger time. Think about the techniques employed by other services like Foursquare, Spotify and Facebook to make seemingly solitary tasks exciting, social and inclusive. We used to gather around the watercooler, where do we go now? Let’s have that conversation where the content is. 

3. Social Transactional and Impulse Purchase 

Recommendation engines are seen as the ultimate solution for content discovery, but who knows you better than your friends? Ranking, rating, voting, liking, clicking, watching, sharing and commenting all create data, which can be used to help create a serendipitous meeting of consumer and product that is made even more personal when your friends are involved. This challenge is looking to identify what social triggers can be used to help drive impulse purchase of content on the web. Working with our digital retail partners and social networks, you’ll be looking to create purchase journeys that feel unique, competitive, complementary or collaborative, but most importantly, part of a social experience. 

4. Next Generation Advertising 

As our audiences and customers fragment across a plethora of different platforms and services, they become harder and harder to reach. Traditional advertising strategies, tools and technologies are not as effective as they once were, and consumers are more sensitive than ever to irrelevant, intrusive ads. Your challenge is to rethink the traditional approach to advertising and help us create new experiences that promote NBCUniversal content across digital platforms to millennials and their successors. 

Interactive, shareable, user generated, contextual, geo-trageted, hyper-personal and relevant are all words you could be thinking about as you identify key consumer behaviours and activities across social platforms, brand websites and mobile experiences with the aim of using those interactions to drive engagement with our content. 

Our content is cool, entertaining and exciting – our ads should be too! 

Do you have an idea to change how NBC Universal delivers its content? Let us know in the comments.


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