For the feature, Williams will offer his unscripted take on the news of the day; the spots will be filmed shortly after the news team's morning editorial meeting.
Randy Stern, MSNBC's deputy editor for the East Coast, said the new video log marks an effort to give consumers insight into what occurs behind the scenes. "There's a justifiable demand to increase the amount of transparency so people can see what goes on," Stern said, adding that the blog would focus on "what they're talking about at the editorial meetings, what they're dealing with--what they think may be a big story."
Asked whether the vagaries of the journalistic process could somehow cast NBC in an unflattering light, Stern said, "At first we were worried: what if something seems like a huge story at 9 a.m. but turns out to be nothing? Will that make us look like we don't know what we're doing?"
But Stern said that in the end, NBC decided that viewers would accept that editorial decisions and news-gathering are fluid processes.
When Williams is unavailable, the V-log will be hosted by NBC News correspondents or producers. As for the concern that it might "cannibalize" the NBC Nightly News audience, Stern said that the V-log content will be substantive but mostly promotional in nature--teasers for the night's programming.
One out of every three two-minute entries on the V-log will feature a pre-roll 15- or 30-second ad, Stern said--but cautioned that this model may well change as industry standards evolve. While MSNBC prefers 15-second ads for pre-roll, Stern said their use was limited by the simple lack of inventory of that duration with suitable creative.