Last Updated on June 1, 2023 by nicole
Nick Buzzell is the Chairman & CEO of NBTV, Spirits Network, and Golf Nation. As a platform that was established in 2019, Spirits Network fosters connectivity with spirits experts and enthusiasts through shoppable streaming video content that can be used on any device. Members can further enjoy exploring the world of spirits with access to exclusive products, gifts, and experiences from the leading players in the spirits industry.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- Nick Buzzell is the Chairman & CEO of NBTV, Spirits Network, and Golf Nation
- Spirits Network is a destination for the best of curated content in spirits, wine, and gold
- Visual storytelling is key to differentiate products and engage customers through TV devices
- Working with smaller winemakers and distillers to unlock stories and get them out to the market
- Partnering with famous people that promotes his cocktail content
- Craft distilleries can get onto the Spirits Network by creating a brand channel and distribution plan
- Spirits Network enables customers to ship locally or to retail partners in major markets
- Focus on brand building and storytelling to make sure your product stands out in the market
- Distribution is complex but multi-scale distribution is enough to get started
- Geo-targeting capabilities is available for limited time offerings
- Growing network by acquiring customers, creating, and working with brands, storytellers, and talent
In this episode with Nick Buzzell
In this episode with Nick Buzzell, Nick discusses NBTV Studios and its structure. He explains how NBTV Channels is a media company with a platform for video commerce, and Spirits Network and Golf Nation are two channels on the platform featuring stories about the world’s greatest spirits producers and lifestyle entertainment for gold enthusiasts.
Nick Buzzell is the Chairman & CEO of NBTV, Spirits Network, and Golf Nation, Nick emphasizes visual storytelling as an important factor in crafting a successful presence and maintaining authenticity. He focuses on how Spirits Network works with small winemakers and distillers to tell their stories through content such as Whiskey Wednesday, where one of his Spirits experts hosts a tasting-type format making cocktails.
In today’s episode of the Legends Behind The Craft podcast, Drew Thomas Hendricks is joined by Nick Buzzell, Nick Buzzell is the Chairman & CEO of NBTV, Spirits Network, and Golf Nation. Nick outlines the costs that is involved in creating content for distribution on OTT streaming platforms such as Spirits Network, and provides advice on how to maximize ROI by targeting specific locations and offering limited-time offerings. He also shares his opinion on how AI content is impacting the industry, but emphasizes the need for authentic storytelling and visuals to maintain authenticity.
Resources Mentioned in this episode
- Drew Thomas Hendricks on LinkedIn
- Barrels Ahead
- Scott Yeates on LinkedIn
- Chris Ritenour on LinkedIn
- Mythology Distillery
- Nick Buzzell on LinkedIn
- NBTV Studios
- Spirits Network
- Golf Nation
- Shop QVC
- NBC Universal
- David Letterman on Instagram
- The Coca-Cola Company
- Brandy Library’s Flavien Desoblin
- Rob Floyd on Instagram
- Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer
- Fred Minnick on LinkedIn
- Peggy Noe Stevens on LinkedIn
- Samara B. Davis on LinkedIn
- Ivy Mix on Instagram
- Michael Buzzell on LinkedIn
- David Nichols on LinkedIn
- Kings Country Distillery
Sponsor for this episode…
This episode is brought to you by Barrels Ahead.
At Barrels Ahead, we know that your business is unique. That’s why we work with you to create a one-of-a-kind marketing strategy that highlights your authenticity, tells your story, and makes your business stand out from your competitors.
Our team at Barrels Ahead helps you leverage your knowledge so you can enjoy the results and revenue your business deserves.
So, what are you waiting for? Unlock your results today!
[00:00:00] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Drew Thomas Hendricks here, I’m the host of the Legends Behind the Craft Podcast. On this show, I talk with leaders in the wine and craft beverage industry. Before we get on with a show, It’s time for a sponsor message, today’s episode is sponsored by Barrels Ahead. At Barrels Ahead, we help the wine and craft industry scale their business through authentic content. Go to barrelsahead.com today to learn more, you know, last week we had a really special tasting with Scott Yeates and Chris Ritenour of Mythology Distillery based out of Steamboat Springs. They walked us through the importance of blending whiskey and then their dedication to distilling, botanicals into gin.
If you haven’t checked out that episode, be sure to give it a watch and a listen because it was a good one. Today, I’m super excited to talk with Nick Buzzell. Nick is the chairman and CEO of NBTV Studios and the founder of the Spirits Network. Welcome to the show, Nick.
[00:01:08] Nick Buzzell: Hi, how are you?
[00:01:10] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I’m doing great. How are you guys? How are you doing today?
[00:01:12] Nick Buzzell: Very good. Thank you for having me. I’m glad to be on today.
[00:01:15] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, excited to talk to you. So Nick, starting off tell me a little bit about, NBTV and its structure. I know in the pre-show. You gave me a walk down through it.
[00:01:23] Nick Buzzell: Yeah. So NBTV channels, which is the parent company, NBTV Studios, is our content production business. And then, NBTV Channels is a separate holding company that essentially, is a media company that has a platform, a video commerce platform, and we have multiple channels, that use that technology platform, which essentially is shoppable, tv, you know, buy what you see. So from tv, mobile, desktop. We allow consumers to click and purchase products and have them delivered to their homes.
So Spirits Network, is our first network and we have. Built essentially what Food Network did for culinary, we’re doing for beverage, alcohol, both spirits and wine. And we’re telling stories around the world’s greatest spirits producers. The greatest stories behind the bottle, the science, the history, the lifestyle, the culture, the travel, the people and the community, and really leveraging the need in the market that has not really been filled by a video forward site.
That is essentially, you know, free to watch. You go to spirits network.com, you sign up, you can access it on Apple tv, apple iOS, Android. So we’ve been called kind of QVC, meets LVMH or QVC meets Netflix, right? In terms of our storytelling content making, and focusing on the enthusiast audiences of the spirits community. And we also learned a lot by data. And one of the data points that we had in our current audience and spirits network was that a lot of them, like to play golf. And so we decided to take that data, and use it to our advantage and say, let’s launch a network around golf. So we launch our second channel, Golf Nation, which essentially is lifestyle and entertainment for the world of golf and food and beverage. go hand in hand with that as well. And so we launched that. we have a sneak peak coming up in, December of this year, and then a full launch, early next year, across the same platforms.
And so think of us, like a destination for the best of the curated destination of each of these categories, and we’re working with celebrities and we’re working with influencers and experts to bring these stories to life and in spirits. I happened to be a spirits enthusiast, so, it felt like a natural place to start, but as I’m sure everybody knows who listens, the spirits industry is growing very quickly.
There’s a tremendous amount of opportunity in categories like, you know, bourbon and tequila, and also mezcal and, other sub, you know, categories of, agave, and even, you know, American whiskey and world whiskey, but wine and local wine producers and people who are essentially creating, you know, farm to glass, type products. It’s amazing how many people, on the consuming side are looking for this stuff. And not only wanna know about it, they want to try it. So with Spirits Network, we allow consumers to do that. Watch, buy, and taste.
[00:04:09] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, that’s fantastic. And it’s, I like what you were talking about there on that, storytelling and it’s a channel that I think that this wine and spirits industry, it’s always been solid storytelling is something we talk about all the time in visual storytelling. We see a lot of it in social, but you’re bringing it to another level, almost beyond a, like a YouTube where people can do it. talk to me about visual storytelling for a
minute. So visual storytelling. I’ve been a TV and filmmaker my entire career, over the last 20 years. I started in television, you know, working at, you know, MTV and for David Letterman and NBC Universal, and, launched a lot of different shows and then started my own company, around content production in 2008 called NBTV Studios. And that’s really the production arm. So I’ve been a producer of physical content, for a long time and have produced over 700, you know, projects across, you know, everything from consumer packaged goods to automotives, you know, big clients like, you know, Marriott, Walmart, Coca-Cola, IBM and one. The thing that was consistent across the board was that everybody wanted to tell a story. And they also wanted to sell a product. And so, we decided to solve that problem with our own, technology, which is, you know, essentially stories to tell in products to sell. But the key is the combination because I think there are plenty of marketplaces, where consumers can get and buy products and services, you know, whether it be Amazon, the everything store, or it be something more specific like, a drizzly where you’re going to purchase a particular spirit product, but what differentiates a product and what differentiates the consumer’s choice is a story. That somebody goes, okay, here is. You know why I’m better, but, or why I’m different, or why my product is unique and special, right? And I think when you think about how content is consumed today, consumers are on TV more and more and they are on streaming TV devices like smart TVs, connected TVs, you know, OTT, which stands for over the top, is a very kind of old school term, because it’s over the top of the television.
It’s like over the top of the cable box. The general thinking was, is that the modern consumer would understand that, but connected TV I think is a better way to put it. Yeah. And funny enough, it’s, you know, consumers that have never had cable. It’s like over the top of what, right? But the idea is that there is an opportunity to engage that customer through their television when we’re not on our mobile device, you know, we’re on our TV. And we feel like that lean back experience is special and we can really tell long form stories there. I mean, our average content engagement, time across platform is over 14 minutes on Spirits Network. Yeah. Our average cart size is $250. we have consumers that are coming to buy something very specific, so we have people that are looking for that specific bottle of, wine or that specific bourbon or that specific tequila. But then we also have people coming to explore and discover. And when you think about exploration and discovery, the travel, the science, the history, all the stuff that makes. The product unique. And then you add the people, which are really the people that make these great products. Now you have a real, you know, you have a character, right? And then you also have a location and a setting. So we are producing content all across the world, you know, Scotland, Mexico, Kentucky. But we’re also producing content right in our backyard. we are working with smaller winemakers and distillers. And we are working with people who have a real differentiated product. And in some cases, there may be the, they may be a producer in a market or a community that has never had one there before. And kind of what that does and the story behind it. And so a lot of what we’re excited about is unlocking more of these stories, getting more of them out to the market, telling the world what’s happening, in the fine world of spirits and the community behind it, you know, is so special. And then you’ve got the collectors, and then you’ve got the enthusiasts, and then you’ve got the mixologists and the cocktail makers. And we are doing a lot more cocktail content making.
We have a show on our network called Cocktail History. Oh, nice. Which basically gives you the history of cocktails, in a kind of a fun, comedic way. We have shows called Whiskey Wednesday, which are essentially, a tasting types format with, one of our spirits experts, Flavien Desoblin who is one of the world’s greatest, taste buds, in the space. He owns the Brandy Library in Tribeca. and he’s a frequent judge in San Francisco and o and other competitions. And so we have, also partnerships with, you know, Cardi B and Whip shots where, you know, we’re telling the story of her getting into the spirits business. and she’s making cocktails with Rob Floyd, who is also a great talent of ours who is the beverage director for Princess Cruises, but also is on, Bar Rescue with John Taffer. And so, you know, when you think about the characters, it’s like there’s these big personalities, there’s these celebrity and influencer level, and then there’s also the characters and the people behind the product and the people that, that go and make it, you know?
Sure, sure. So, I mean, there’s incredible network that you just described. It’s a processing all that, that’s amazing. To a craft distillery. I mean, just get into the nuts and bolts of this. So let’s just take a, craft distillery that’s trying to get the word out. how do they go about getting onto your network and what’s the process like?
[00:09:22] Nick Buzzell: Well, it’s interesting because, we really wanna work with every brand at every level. I know that sometimes, smaller more craft distillery, you know, based brands have a challenge with marketing and
[00:09:35] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Or mid-market one that maybe has a budget, like what’s the budget?
[00:09:37] Nick Buzzell: Right or maybe even a budget, right? It’s like, you gotta make that budget work, right? So, And you really gotta drive sales, and so one example that we just did, for a really great, essentially craft wine producer upstate New York in, Millbrook, New York. The Elizabeth Winery, you can actually see it on Spirits Network now. We created a whole distribution plan and we actually got them distributed outside of New York State. One of their challenges was they were very limited to farm to table, kind of, New York state regulations and just kind of where their market was. But they had consumers in other states that had tried their product that wanted to get more of it. And so their conundrum was kind of, how do we do this as a small brand? They produce a significant amount for a, you know, kind of a home, town brand, but they also. are very high end, right? There’s an element to their product that is, also very accessible, but they cater towards, people who appreciate, you know, finer products. And to that point, you know, that also brings opportunity to address them, but then also to open up and address a wider audience. So distribution was key, and so we built them a whole brand channel, which you’ll see around this. And, Neil Grossman, the winemaker, happens to be a friend of mine, but also, he’s a fantastic inventor and somebody who is creating, a really great product. So we took the time to really design, a product with him, on the visual side that supported their hometown. And their kind of locality. So it was very visual about their home and it was very visual about the land and the, terroir and it connected all of these pieces. Together in a way where the story was told through the native aspect that it’s all homegrown and locally grown by this amazing family, you know, Mindy and Neil, are well known in the community. They’re well known in industry, but a lot of consumers didn’t know that they made wine and a lot of their friends didn’t know they made wine. And then when they tried it, they go, this is amazing and I want to, and I wanna buy and try more. How do I do that in Florida, right? So we made that possible and then we brought video storytelling around that as well. And we’ll be releasing a video pretty soon, on the kind of behind the scenes of what it’s like there, it’s a beautiful piece of property. It’s well kept. It’s incredible that they’re making this kind of product. Using all local products and all local, you know, locally grown grapes. And so when you think about this story, it’s a story inside itself, but then it also becomes something that’s now very tangible because of the way that we’re communicating it.And allowing people to buy it and try it. So now you’re watching this story, you buy what you see, and then the next time you’re actually tasting it, and you potentially, depending on where you live, could be watching and tasting at the same time, in the same day, or you could get it the next day and do the same thing.
So now you know, to use the words, or the example of Willy Wonka, you know, when you saw Tasty TV where he pulled the chocolate part of the tv, this is about as close as we’ve become, in beverage alcohol. So, now, how does that work now? How does that work? I just wanna do more of that, like, I wanna do that all day, you know? More stories, more, connections like that, right?
[00:12:49] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I love the immediate feedback that you get but you, captivate the audience and you give them a chance to buy. Whereas oftentimes you’re sending this message out, hoping it resonates, and then waiting. Somebody gonna buy, is somebody gonna buy? And you’re checking the analytics but here you get that kind of instant gratification, that dopamine hit that someone’s made a purchase. Walk me and our listeners through how this, so you’re, I’m on my Apple TV, I’m watching Spirits Network. I’m watching this winery, little video, how do I make that purchase?
[00:13:19] Nick Buzzell: So in the video, you’re able to click and purchase it right in the lower left hand corner. A buy bar comes up, and the person can click the little lightning bolt, which is the click buy button, or they can click add to cart, which allows them to add multiple items to the cart.
And essentially, they’re given the product right away. So, if you, you know, depending on where it’s coming from. It could be same day, and in most cases it’s one-to-three-day shipping, and you get the ability to kind of have that product instantly. And so you can bring that buy bar up and down.
There’s a little plus, or minus symbol on the right-hand corner that allows you to bring it up. And then we trigger it throughout the programming. So if you see somebody pouring, a glass of wine, we trigger it so that you can make that purchase, right? And you don’t have to. And the nice part is, is that it’s very non-obtrusive.
So, if you’re not ready to purchase, you don’t feel like you’re getting a big interruptive ad. If you notice the interruptive ad market and what’s going on in that is that consumers are tuning out a lot of advertising. Absolutely. And so, this is not only hard to tune out because you’re watching it about the product, but then you also have an additional opportunity to click and purchase.
And we’re seeing a tremendous amount of people take advantage of that. We’re also seeing, people come in for our drop zone, which we’re very excited about. Drop Zone essentially is. The, you know, sneaker drop format for beverage alcohol. So now, we’re doing limited time releases. We’re doing special releases.
We’re doing, you know, essentially products that are either rare and hard to find or, you know, special edition. The thinking here is that this is a reason to not only come back time and time again, but there’s lots of producers who say, I’ve made something really great, but I don’t have, you know, a lot of it, or I have some of it, but I know I need more of it and it takes me more time to make it.
And so, you know, how can I move the products that I have now? And so this is a good way to do that. Usually, it works really well when there’s a video story behind why, right? Like why it’s great, why, it’s unique, why it’s limited time and, you know, the cool part is, is that there’s a lot of opportunity to really connect with the audience first party and tell that story consistently, you know, over and over again, but also to reengage that customer without having to reacquire them.
[00:15:29] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Well, that’s, yeah, that’s fantastic. so, the first purchase of the product, do you handle the fulfillment and how does the person put in their shipping information, does that have to be prearranged?
[00:15:39] Nick Buzzell: So the way that this works is we work with a retail network of fulfillment partners who essentially enable us to be able to ship locally. If the product is not available locally, then we have a group of retail partners in major markets that will take product in on behalf of Spirits Network so that we can actually fulfill, you know, more niche products or products that are essentially harder to get. So, it’s all, you know, three tier compliant. It’s all designed to essentially create the fastest path and the most efficient path to the customer.
[00:16:13] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Okay. Okay. No, that, makes sense. I have my little Apple remote. How do you input your shipping information?
[00:16:20] Nick Buzzell: So your shipping and all of your billing information is established when you sign up to spirits network.com.
[00:16:25] Drew Thomas Hendricks: I see. Okay.
[00:16:26] Nick Buzzell: You become a member. Yeah. So, you visit the flow is you go to spiritsnetwork.com. There we go. Okay. You sign up for free, but you give us you’re billing and shipping and you put your credit card in, and then when you go on Apple tv, in any other place, it’s authenticated.
And so now you can easily purchase, but when you do, you can pick other addresses and you can say, you know, send it to my main address or send it to my vacation house, or whatever it is. but you also have the ability to, you make some adjustments using the, you know, with the Apple Carrier house.
Sure, sure. Board that will come up. and you can go ahead and do that too, but you have to sign up your credit card and everything on the, on the.com first, and then it’s almost by now. I love it it’s like one click and buy because you don’t need to put you know, the data back in.
[00:17:11] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah. No, that’s, great. But yeah, I’m, notorious for watching YouTube videos all night long and then making mental notes of what I need to look up the next day and buy it. Without that filter, my wife’s me seen a lot more packages coming in. Coming in. I wanna shift here a little bit, on this authentic storytelling and visual storytelling, cuz that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is, AI content, AI driven content, which is now le going even to music and pictures. And they say something like, in 10 years, 90% of the content on the internet is gonna be AI created, which is kind of a. Against the wine and spirits and its authenticity. But what you’re doing from what the videos I’m seeing, they almost like many documentaries that go beyond that that are able to instill that authenticity that I fear is getting lost very quickly on the internet.
[00:18:01] Nick Buzzell: Yeah. So, going back to what you said, earlier in the conversation that the key is storytelling, right? We are story, I mean, the part I’d like to make, look, I love spirits, right? But I was a storyteller first and I essentially created the spirits network to solve the need to be able to hear the stories of spirits first. And then the idea of being able to purchase them became an obvious, utility that made sense. And so, to me, the story has to be good, right? It has to be well produced. It has to be good, you know, even regardless of stuff that we’re doing with, you know, whether it’s, remote location or, you know, shorter timeframe.
Sometimes people want to grab things and it’s like you’ve only got a couple weeks to prepare. But our mentality is, you know, quality and content and authenticity are paramount and we really take our pride in taking time to craft those stories and make them look really cinematic and beautiful.
And we don’t really necessarily dictate how long it should be. It should, if it’s two minutes to tell a great story great. If it’s 20 minutes to tell a great story, as long as it’s a great story or a story that keeps people interested for 20 minutes, then we’re happy for you to do that. So, you know, we come at it from that content maker first, and then we add this layer of.
Now we’re going to bring the commerce element in. And then we’re gonna bring that community building and deep dive, cuz we have a loyalty points program. That people get points for, purchasing and they can get discounts on shipping or access to limited time drop zones. We’re doing some interesting stuff around NFTs. Which is again, more utility driven. But we’re forward thinking in the fact that this spirit’s experience is very much like a virtual tasting experience is very much like a virtual community that can come together with physical products. So bringing that virtual and physical together is, is the beauty of this. But the authenticity of the story, I always tell, our clients, you know, big or small brands. Because we do work with, you know, a lot of the large holding companies and a lot of the bigger, you know, kind of consumer brand, you know, companies. But I always say whether the product, you know, if the product’s good. Then people are gonna like it, and if the story’s good and the product’s good, people are gonna love it. But if any one of those two things is not true, either the story’s not good and the product’s not good, it becomes hard to sell. And so you have to have a good product and you have to have a good story to tell. And in some cases, you know, it doesn’t always have to be completely real either. I mean, the interesting part about this industry and the, which is maybe why as a Hollywood style, you know, content maker. I thought it was so intriguing is that I learned that even some of our favorite brands, the story is a marketing campaign, or it’s completely, you know, folklore I think is in good fun. It’s like you want to hear the great story, you want to taste a great product. And if you can do that at sitting back in your living room, our, you know, our whole saying is sit back and relax, right? You can do that in your living room. You can do that on the go. And you can meet other people that are like you and wanna do that as well. And that community aspect, we’re gonna be launching more features around that to help kind of galvanize the team, you know, the, groups of people that really get excited about this stuff.
[00:21:09] Drew Thomas Hendricks: You brought up a really, really good point. And too often authenticity is confused with like, reality. And true story, but there’s no reason why you cannot have a nice, nice, authentic, well created, well-crafted folklore that people can buy into and believe, and then that becomes reality. That’s right. I really love that part of what you just said there.
What other advice I that could you give, you know, a winery or craft distillery? Advice on creating that sort of a story that resonates, a story that people are actually gonna listen to.
[00:21:41] Nick Buzzell: Well, the key here is, eally being able to think about brand building early in the process. And being a brand builder and a storyteller go hand in hand. I think oftentimes people get, you know, their product, you know, excited, you know, just like me, when I create something, you get really excited about your own product sometimes. You’ll take a step back and say, okay, how do I market and communicate this to other people? How do I make sure that I stand out in the market?
There’s a lot of noise out there, there’s a lot of stuff to distract us every day. How do I make sure someone knows who I am and tries what I’m, you know, building or producing? And so, the idea here is you gotta build a brand. And what I oftentimes hear sometimes with new brands, even celebrity brands, I mean, I’m sure you see every day or every other day, there’s a new celebrity brand. Oh, yeah. I think the excitement,
[00:22:31] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Especially in the tequila mezcal category, I was gonna say, the excitement is the lowest barrier of entry.
[00:22:36] Nick Buzzell: Right, low barrier to entry and people say, you know, in some cases I love gin, so I’m gonna launch a gin or I love tequila, I’m gonna launch a tequila.
In other cases, it’s just an endorsement deal. And you know, if you know the aviation gin story, that was a different product and it didn’t have Ryan Reynolds involved, and then when it got all those two things came together, it became aviation gin, right? And you know, part of the key to this is, knowing where brand building and storytelling can really help take something that might be, you know, not labeled or not told in the right way, harder to sell. So I would say, focus on brand building, focus on storytelling, focus on building out, you know, the experience that consumers have with your brand. In a digital format like is it video, is it great websites, is it great social posting? Is it timely and relevant? Is it authentic? Does it have a path to purchase? Is there a call to action? Is there something that brings the consumer to you.
[00:23:35] Drew Thomas Hendricks: But, for brand building where and at what stage of a brand should they start looking towards Spirits Network or that sort of OTT, like production value in their journey?
[00:23:46] Nick Buzzell: Yeah, I think the key is, there’s twofold. One, I mean obviously there is a cost to this. It is not the cheapest form of marketing out there, right there, but it’s not the most expensive, you know, the one thing in general terms, what are we looking at? I mean, it can, we’ve done projects for $25,000 and we’ve done projects for two and a half million, right? So, and everything in between, right? I think that’s kind of our sweet spot is kind of at that 25K level. And I know there are some people probably listening to this and being like, $25,000, you know, that’s my marketing budget for the whole year. And then there might be some people who be like, oh, $25,000.
It’s not so bad. It just depends on, you know, your point of view. But you do have to invest, right? You have to invest in, in your brand. You have to invest in brand building. You have to invest in building assets. Well, we try to explain to clients, we’ve had clients that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars with us and gained all these assets that have evergreen capability that they can reuse and repurpose across Instagram and across YouTube and on their website. And it’s not just an ad and it’s time. Hundreds of pieces of micro content. Exactly, and then we’ve had people say, I want to do a product launch with you, right? We’re very good at product launches where it’s let’s tell a story and do a drop zone and, bring people in, to let them buy now kind of thing, right? And so, the first step is you gotta have a budget, right? The second step is you gotta have a story, and if you don’t know what your story is, we can help you with that too. we actually have a lot of formats, that you can plug into, like cocktail history. And others that we’re working on, you know, that are really kind of franchise type shows. And we can do custom content and we can create something just around you. We have a couple of really good documentaries coming out, with partners of ours in December that I think your audience will enjoy because they’re deep dives into these particular worlds and categories. One of our best performing, shows on the network is the history of the Martini, which is a really well produced documentary.
We didn’t produce it, we actually licensed it. So we licensed content as well as produce. And, we’ve kept it on the network and it gets a lot of views and a lot of attention. But going back to the point is really, you know, being able to find a starting place, but the distribution is the key, right? If you need distribution, in some ways we can help you. As everybody knows, the distribution side of this business is complex. But if you have multi-state distribution, you’re in four states, three states, 10 states, that’s enough to get started. It’s the one state distribution that’s a little more challenging, two states a little more challenging. Yeah. but if you can get a couple more than that, and you have the ability to ship, it becomes very exciting because then, you know, we’ve seen a lot of really great sales metrics and data come from brands that, like you said, the instant gratification. I know my advertising is working, people are buying my product.
[00:26:25] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah. Talking about that instant gratification and the data, what sort of, what’s the average ROI people can expect on something like that? What sort of expectations do you?
[00:26:33] Nick Buzzell: It varies, I mean, we can’t guarantee bottle sales, right? Yeah, we’re not at that place yet. But what we do is part of our overall measurement and metrics guaranteed to, to our advertising clients is we give them views, we give them impression guarantees. We give them some estimate of what bottle sales could look like, and then we rinse and repeat. We wanna be successful, right?
[00:26:54] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Like we can show you to 2 million people, but we can’t guarantee that anybody’s gonna buy anything. But then that they can take those 2 million impressions and then base that on the 2 million impressions that they had in another advertising channel and get a comparative ROI from there.
[00:27:07] Nick Buzzell: That’s right. That’s right.
[00:27:09] Drew Thomas Hendricks: No, that’s, very good. So they have all those metrics you mentioned that like distribution in only in any states, and I have to say OTT streaming is not. anything I know a whole lot about is do you have the ability to channel the shows to just those states or just those areas? That people can buy your merchandise.
[00:27:26] Nick Buzzell: So from a geotargeting standpoint, we have some capabilities on that. And we have done limited time offerings, and we have done things where, you know, it’s only available in three or four states. Okay. but in bar and wide, you know, you have the ability to watch this on any device anywhere.
It’s just the decision of can I purchase it or not, right? If I can purchase it, that’s where we see the best results. But if I can’t, I can still watch the content. I can still learn about it. So, we’ve done,
[00:27:53] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Would they see the buy now button pop up if they can’t purchase it?
[00:27:56] Nick Buzzell: Yeah, it would just say it’s not available in their area, right? So,
[00:27:59] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Or they might wanna ship it to someplace that it is available. So you’d still wanna show it to ’em.
[00:28:03] Nick Buzzell: Correct. So the general thinking is, is it’s available, but you may get an out of area, you know, type of message, like not can’t ship to your area or not available. And that’s not the best customer experience, but it’s, still a way to get your story out there.
And then when you are available, and you do have product in those markets, we can retarget those people and we can send them emails and say, the product’s now available in your area.
[00:28:26] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, that’s fantastic. I mean, true, true. multi-channel media, not just streaming, is what you’re offering. So I’m gonna ask you to look into the future here and all your knowledge of the, streaming industry and production.
Where do you see this, medium going in the next five years? Like where are you guys looking forward?
[00:28:44] Nick Buzzell: So, I mean, I think we’re really at the beginning of a huge opportunity. If you look at the data in. Who’s purchasing alcohol online today versus the general consuming population, you know, legal consumer population?
The numbers are huge. The growth is huge. the opportunity is there. I think, if you see the change in happening in media that you see today, I don’t think we’re gonna be anywhere where we are now, five years from now, three years probably still kind of ferreting out some of this, but the idea of ad tiers and streaming for free with commercials and paying for things, and I just think that will continue to erode. My view is that we will be in a, brand supported, or a, loyalty network supported economy at some point were, okay. My media will be essentially subsidized by the advertisers, but, directly, right.
So, you know, have an American Express and I shop at Whole Foods and, you know, I buy my, Fuel from mobile. All those three loyalty points will give me access to ESPN and Hulu and, Spirits Network and Golf Nation and all the great apps out there. And I won’t have to pay for any of them as long as I keep shopping and buying products that they make with their services, right? So, I see that to be the future, or some iteration of it. I mean, I wouldn’t have imagined in some ways it would take this long to get, here it is 2022 and even though it feels like we’ve made huge strides, there’s a lot in the media business, the legacy media business that just needs to change.
Especially because consumers are not watching advertising. I can’t say that enough. I used to produce commercials, like I would produce 32nd spots. We did a Coke Zero commercial for Kevin Hart, you know, we’ve done, you know, big broadcast projects. Also episodic television, but good old-fashioned commercials. And with the exception of the commercials that I produced, I didn’t want you any commercials. Yeah. And I, you know, we’d go into meetings and people would be like, can we skip this commercial so we can get to the meeting? And we’re like, but this is what we’re making. You’re telling us to skip. We’re making, it’s like, it already does it work?
Like, it’s just as interesting because, you know, when you think about the customer experience, there’s so much more room to make this a better experience. I don’t even think the customer cares where it comes from, like, this whole, you know, this, you know, drizzly versus Reserve bar versus Go Puff versus any of this kind of last mile delivery companies. It’s a small segment of the business, but it’s the last mile delivery that’s the most important. And it’s that 10% business. That is hard, I think, to scale because everybody’s trying to go after these customers, and these customers don’t have the Uber of yet.
And so, I think they’re all vying to be the uber of what they do in, in this space. But I think if you look at how people consume, streaming media and also spirits in particular, They’re not necessarily in an environment where they’re looking for, you know, the QVC of spirits. But they’re looking for the Netflix of spirits. Which is where the stories are and the content is, and then their QVC like function comes with it, right? marketplace Forward is a tough business to stay in, right? It’s hard to scale. It’s very cost of, you know, prohibitive, you have to acquire the user, you have to maintain the user. You know, you have to get them to make repeat purchases, but with, the other way around where the stories and the products bring the customer. And they allow the customer to engage in what they’re looking for already through media. Yeah. And now they can buy is a different mouse trap, so to speak.
And I think that’s really where this industry will have to go because it, it becomes hard to sustain, you know, nothing goes up forever. Like, you know, it’s like, you know, Netflix, I mean, I just read, there’s officially 8 billion people in the world. You know, Netflix I think has 200 million customers, so if their business plan is really rooted in that, they’re gonna get to 8 billion at some point. I mean that’s really hard to do, right? Yeah. So, I feel like there has to be another play, which it involves commerce, but it really comes back down to a consumer experience if the consumer experience isn’t good.
Yeah. People are gonna turn off and, they’re not gonna use the tools, right? So, we’re really focused on building that customer experience. It happens to be really hard in alcohol, but it’s not as hard in golf. and we have other channels planned we’ll be coming out with, but
[00:33:00] Drew Thomas Hendricks: You don’t have to age gate golf.
[00:33:02] Nick Buzzell: Correct, correct, and Golf Nation, you know, you’ll see, that there’s a lot of great programming and it’s free, and it’s the same economic model and it’s the same platform. But it also brings out the fact that
[00:33:13] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Like the core buyer, the hardcore consumer that’s actually gonna purchase versus the person that’s just kind of learning about it.
[00:33:21] Nick Buzzell: Well, you went there. It’s customer lifetime value, right? Really what we’re doing is looking at the accessible luxury audience, and we’re looking at the audience that is known to, to spend money on things that they need and want specific to the categories that they want, versus being a generalist, right? We’re a specialist and we’re really drilling in, to these niche audiences. You know, we have this kind of the riches is in the niche’s kind of approach.
[00:33:45] Drew Thomas Hendricks: How do you grow this network? I mean, if someone knows about the, I know the brands can say, hey, watch us on the Spirit Network, but then they already know about the brand, so it’s a little chicken and the egg. How did you go about growing Spirits network?
[00:33:57] Nick Buzzell: Well, we’re acquiring customers every day. We’re spending money to buy and acquire users. And we’re creating content that is hopefully bringing more users to the network every day. We’re working with brands, but we’re also working with storytellers and we’re working with talent that brings an audience, you know, we have Fred Minick on the network. We have Peggy Noe Stevens. We have, some really great, Samara Davis. We have a bunch of folks who really represent, category expertise, Ivy Mix, Rob Floyd as I mentioned. So the talent, you know, helps, right? Cardi B telling everybody about whip shots.
Sure. And us being the store that powers that, is very helpful. So we’re using paid earned and owned media traffic drivers to bring people in. And we’re driving that through. The overarching experience where you know, you can buy what you see. And we hope that you stay with us across spirits and golf and everything else.
Sure. And so, as you think about acquiring customers. If you like spirits, you like golf. And if you like golf, I mean, don’t have to like golf, but there’s a commonality, right? And then if you happen to like golf, you might have a pet and you might drive a nice car, or you might be into traveling, or you might be into, you know, whatever.
And so, the idea is that we use the data to analyze where we, where it makes sense to launch new categories, right? And where it makes sense to launch new verticals. And the collection of these. Bring us an audience that we can see and understand better of what they want and then provide them.
[00:35:29] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah, so the end goal is you want somebody to go into the app store, download the Spirit Network app so it shows up on their Apple TV. That’s right. Yep. I mean, we, but then before that, do you start with like a YouTube
[00:35:40] Nick Buzzell: Mobile app too? I mean, you can download it in the app store. To me it’s like, whether you want to go to .com all the time or you want to watch it on, I mean, I love watching it on a big 60 inch. Yeah, you know, flat screen with a great spirit in hand and just, you know, unplug. But it depends how you wanna watch it, but the idea is whether you watch it, whether you’re on a plane or you’re at home, or you’re just looking for something on the fly, that it’s a tool and a resource for you to really expand your palette, to grow your own knowledge base in the category, and to try and explore and discover, right? I mean, I don’t know about you the last time I tried to watch a Netflix movie. It took me 45 minutes to pick something and then once I found that acting,
[00:36:16] Drew Thomas Hendricks: They have the worst DUI. I don’t understand,
[00:36:19] Nick Buzzell: I mean the acting in the music was so bad that I was like, I can’t, and that I, you know, I ended up putting spirits that work on and just watching my own day’s work essentially.
[00:36:28] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Oh, that’s fun. Now you’re, as we’re kind of wrapping down here, what advice would you give someone that’s to maybe just graduating and wanting to get into this new kind of visual based storytelling, OTT streaming, just basically getting into the industry.
[00:36:41] Nick Buzzell: Yeah. I mean, there’s a question. How do you get in the industry?
[00:36:44] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Yeah. Well, no, what advice would you give to someone that wants to kind of make the leap into this, your industry versus maybe traditional marketing?
[00:36:51] Nick Buzzell: I would say don’t. No, I’m just kidding, look, it’s a tough, it’s a tough business but it’s a beautiful business if you love it and if you really are passionate about it and there’s never a dull moment and there’s always fun stuff to do. And there’s always great stories to tell, and even when times are good, people want to tell and make content. And when times are bad, people want to tell and make, you know, tell stories and make content. and same thing with spirits, you know, it’s somewhat recession proof in the sense that people are still consuming and doing, maybe they’re not splurging, but they’re still consuming and doing, but entertainment space is changing.
And if you’re a progressive thinker and you’re innovative, then you should go into tech. If you’re willing to play the old game and the old game is making people a lot of money. You should go into television, right? But that’s why I’m so passionate about what we’re doing because I see an intersection, right?
I see the ability to be smart, and to be creative at the same time, right? So it’s like the ability to do both, is really exciting to me. At least for now,
[00:37:52] Drew Thomas Hendricks: It truly is. this has been a fascinating conversation, Nick. Where can people find out more about you, NBTV and the Spirits Network?
[00:38:00] Nick Buzzell: You can go to spiritsnetwork.com, sign up, it’s free, tell your friends, watch some great content. We have over 300 hours of programming on there, there’s something for everybody. And golfnation.com is another great destination. There’s more coming right now, there’s a splash page up, but there’s gonna be a lot more coming there free to join again and also, Available in the app stores, next year.
And then also go to, nbtvinc.com, which is our corporate site that talks a lot about us, and shows more about what we’re doing at a company level and really just getting excited about, you know, connecting with people. I mean, you can connect me if, listeners are saying, how do I talk to Nick and his team?
We have a great team, look, it takes a village. I’m very proud of the people that work for us and we’ve got some amazing partners. My dad is actually the CTO, my dad built the software technology, so my dad is a really smart guy and very creative, Mike Buzzell. and then I have great partners, including David Nichols, who’s the president of Spirits Network, and David. And it comes from K Swiss where he built that into a global brand, and is got a great sense about him, but also love spirits and loves, you know, to craft spirits. And he actually is involved in Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn. So, he has a lot going on with that. But it’s exciting because, you know, we have a great team and we’re building and we’re growing, as fast as the world will let us, and, you know, we’re excited to work with good people. We’re excited to tell great stories. We can figure something out, if you’re a small brand listening to this and saying, I love this.
I just don’t have $25,000. It’s okay, call us, figure it out. we’ll come up with a plan. But if you are a big brand listening and you have money, you should spend it with us.
[00:39:37] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Absolutely. Well, Nick, thank you so much for joining us today.
[00:39:41] Nick Buzzell: Great. Thank you. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
[00:39:43] Drew Thomas Hendricks: Thanks. Have a great day.
[00:39:44] Nick Buzzell: Thanks Drew.