Please Rotate Your Device 90
For the best experience, turn your mobile device portrait mode.
Skip to main content

The Power of Live Programming at Cannes Lions 2024 

NBCUniversal rallied behind the power of live at Cannes Lions, a celebration of creativity in the advertising industry

June 27, 2024

Live programming has been around since the inception of television. In 1939, NBC hosted the first live, public broadcast at the New York’s World Fair. This marked the first of many moments in history where audiences gathered around a TV set to experience real-time updates as a collective community. 

Today, live television continues to bring people together for “can’t miss” moments of joy, suspense and engagement. From the game-winning basket, to the reveal of award winners, and coverage of presidential debates, live TV engages audiences across sports, entertainment, and news in both English and Spanish as well as linear and streaming. With 45 million people tuning in to NBCUniversal’s live linear content every day and 300+ live events streamed on Peacock each year, the appetite for live programming is stronger than ever, expanding across platforms and languages. This is why NBCUniversal rallied behind the power of live at Cannes Lions, a celebration of creativity in the advertising industry in the south of France. 

Leading up to the festival, NBCUniversal’s Advertising and Partnerships President, Karen Kovacs authored an op-ed featured in Brand Innovators revealing how the marketing community can leverage today’s live events. Plus, the company announced accelerated live audience insights, enabling marketers to re-engage consumers during live programming as well as providing quick-turn, rich insights helping brands make strategic investments at every step of a campaign. 

Throughout the week, NBCUniversal executives and talent spoke to the power of live, diving into the pillars of sports, entertainment, news in both English and Spanish. Starting off with sports, which 74% of consumers say watching premium live sports at home is the next best thing to being there in person, Mark Marshall, Chairman of Global Advertising & Partnerships discussed NBCUniversal's Olympics partnership with Delta at the Female Quotient’s Equality Lounge. Shannon Willett, Chief Marketing Officer, Peacock, NBCUniversal spoke with Variety on the unmatched experience of the Olympic and Paralympic Games with 5,000 hours of live content and new product innovations on Peacock, which was shortlisted for the Duolingo campaign “Love Language” in the social and engagement category. 

To demonstrate the power of live entertainment, which garners the most engagement on social media, Chief Marketing Officer of NBCUniversal Advertising & Partnerships, Josh Feldman spoke to Variety about the power of “Saturday Night Live” in bringing communities together through stories that makes people laugh and cheer.  

Photo Cred: Sean Smith

The media and entertainment company also shared its perspective on news, which is live at its core. NBC News & MSNBC National Political Correspondent, Steve Kornacki shared his journalistic perspective on the data trends behind women’s sports, followed by a fireside chat with Alison Levin at Axios’ Women’s Sports House. Additionally, Julia Boorstin, CNBC Senior Media & Tech Correspondent interviewed Shannon Willett and Alison Levin during a Female Quotient panel on marketing to today’s consumers through live connections. 

Through the lens of inclusivity, Mónica Gil, Chief Administrative and Marketing Officer of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, shared how brands can authentically engage with the Hispanic community at the Republica Havas and We Are All Human “Seize the Moment” panel. Plus, Peter Blacker, EVP of Streaming & Data Products and Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in NBCUniversal’s Global Advertising and Partnerships division participated in a fireside chat on the expanded partnership with Group Black and Peacock’s upcoming multi-cultural content collection. 

If there was one event at Cannes Lions that encompassed every touchpoint of NBCUniversal’s message, it was the co-hosted programming with Comcast FreeWheel. The morning of the event, Comcast FreeWheel published a whitepaper centered around the power of live, featuring a case study demonstrating the impact of NBC’s 2023 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. At the event, Comcast and NBCUniversal executives, including James Rooke, Mark Marshall, Josh Feldman, Mónica Gil, and Jen Neal, Executive Vice President of Entertainment Live Events & Specials at NBCUniversal, brought together a diverse lineup of speakers, from on-camera talent, producers, athletes, sports commentators, to entrepreneurs all to share their unique perspectives on the power of live television. 

The takeaway of the week? Live TV is just as relevant now as it was nearly 100 years ago when NBC hosted the first live, public broadcast. Live TV has lasted for decades and continues to evolve, innovate, and grow across media and advertising because of its communal appeal and ability to bring people together. Even as technology advances and new platforms emerge, people will always strive to stay connected. From the World Fair in New York to Cannes Lions in France, live television transcends time, screens, and languages, sharing “can’t miss” moments for publishers, consumers, and marketers everywhere.