You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBCUniversal Sets Radical Overhaul of Advertising Sales Operations

New structure aims to sell inventory across demographic, thematic lines rather than network by network

In an unorthodox restructuring of NBCUniversal’s advertising sales operations, the Peacock is clustering sales efforts for its broadcast and cable networks along demographic and thematic lines rather than the traditional network-centric approach.

The overhaul means that NBCUniversal reps will no longer call on sponsors simply to sell ad inventory on a single network, but try to encourage purchases of discrete groups of viewers, whether they be mass audiences or crowds tuning in for specific kinds of lifestyle shows.

NBCU said it would put one executive, Dan Lovinger, over sales of its biggest ratings generators: NBC, entertainment-cablers USA and Syfy and WWE programs. Another executive, Laura Molen, will oversee ad sales for themed cablers including Bravo, Oxygen, Esquire, E!, Cloo and Chiller. Seth Winter, head of NBC Sports ad sales, will add oversight of ad sales for NBC News as part of an effort to sell live programming. Scott Schiller a digital-ad sales executive will expand his role to supervise sales of advertising related to digital video.

“In a world of growing fragmentation and as scale has become more and more elusive, we’ve clustered our networks to capitalize on the strength of our assets,” said Linda Yaccarino, president of NBCU ad sales (pictured).

The company also set Alison Tarrant to oversee sales of sponsorships and advertising integrations across all of its networks and properties. The job is an eyebrow-raising one for NBCU, which typically relegated such stuff to execs at individual properties, meaning that different sales personnel from individual networks often did individual projects, but did not often consider company-wide ideas. John Shea, a veteran ad executive who had been orchestrating ideas for sponsors that played out across the company’s units, will continue as Chief Marketing Officer.

NBCU is borrowing a page of sorts from Disney’s ESPN. which has for several years organized its ad teams around types of sponsors, rather than around different types of media – think print, TV, and the like – to sell. The theory is that advertisers have come to the realization that their commercials must work together across a broad swath of media types, particularly as audiences migrate to social-media outlets and digital video.

Under Yaccarino, NBCU has stepped up its efforts to sell a broader array of advertising to clients – not just a broadcast schedule or a seasonal appearance on a cable network. The move has added more complexity to NBCU’s ad negotiations, but appears to have had at least one positive effect: In this year’s upfront, the NBC broadcast network was the only one to secure an increased volume of ad commitment from sponsors among English-language broadcasters. Among rivals, Fox and ABC saw ad volume fall while CBS and CW stayed flat with 2012 levels.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Hailee SteinfeldTribeca TV Festival 2019 Presents

    Hailee Steinfeld Announces New Single Tied to Apple TV Plus' 'Dickinson'

    Actress, singer and producer Hailee Steinfeld is set to release a new single entitled “Afterlife” on Sept. 19, a track she created for her upcoming Apple TV Plus series,”Dickinson.” “This is a song I’m incredibly proud of, and I feel like after embodying this character, I have a more fearless approach to my writing,” Steinfeld [...]

  • Rachel Bloom

    Rachel Bloom Announces Pregnancy After Emmy Win

    “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom made a special announcement after winning her Emmy for best original music and lyrics — she is pregnant. Bloom announced the news backstage on Saturday at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. She joked she had planned to reveal the news on Instagram but that doing it at the Emmys was even [...]

  • EVIL is a psychological mystery that

    TV Review: 'Evil'

    In its pilot installment, CBS’s new drama “Evil” delves into that which may lie beyond the rationally explicable. And the show itself represents something almost supernatural by 2019 standards, too: A well-made hour fueled by chemistry between its leads and a strong idea of itself. On the basis of its debut outing, which screened at [...]

  • Emmy Awards Placeholder

    Creative Arts Emmys: 'Free Solo,' 'Queer Eye' Among Big Winners on Night 1 (Full List)

    “Free Solo,” “Queer Eye,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “Saturday Night Live” were among the big winners Saturday after the first night of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. “Free Solo,” the National Geographic feature documentary that already claimed the Oscar earlier this year, lead the field on the [...]

  • Gary Cole, Christina Anthony, Tika Sumpter,

    'Mixed-ish' Team on Why 'All Stories About "Others" Are Necessary'

    The producers and cast of “Mixed-ish” are not out to tell a singular black and white story — but one that showcases and celebrates all shades in between. “It’s important for me across the board in all of my work to talk about ‘otherness’ and identity and real, grounded characters,” showrunner Karin Gist told Variety [...]

  • Shane Gillis

    Comedians Condemn Shane Gillis Over Slurs

    “Saturday Night Live” showrunner Lorne Michaels has yet to comment on the racist and homophobic remarks made by newly hired cast member Shane Gillis, but comedians and actors are expressing their condemnation on social media, some even asking that he be fired from the show.  Footage of Gillis’s podcast, “Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast,” was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content