NBCUniversal Lays Off Members of Ad Sales Staff

Cuts take place after conglom streamlined blurb efforts

Linda Yaccarino

An undetermined number of ad-sales staffers have been let go from NBCUniversal after the company announced a radical restructuring of its efforts in that part of its business, a person familiar with the company has confirmed to Variety.

This person estimated as much as 3.5% of the media conglomerate’s ad-sales personnel may have been laid off, but did not offer a specific number of employees affected. The department’s senior staff remains in place, this person said.

NBCU declined to make executives available for comment.

In an unorthodox maneuver unveiled last month, NBCUniversal said it would start selling its ad inventory not by network, but by the type of audiences advertisers wanted to reach. As such, the company put a single person, Dan Lovinger, over the sale of all advertising related to mass-entertainment programming, i.e. NBC broadcast, USA, Syfy and WWE programming. Laura Molen was placed in charge of selling ads across the company’s lifestyle cablers, including E!, Bravo and Esquire. Advertisers interested in attracting the live audiences who flock to sports events and news programming now deal with a group led by Seth Winter, formerly head of just sports ad sales. And Scott Schiller a digital-ad sales executive, was given expanded oversight of advertising sales related to digital video.

The move was the latest by NBCU ad-sales prexy Linda Yaccarino, who has worked aggressively to increase sales that encompass a greater portion of NBCU’s broad portfolio of media outlets. As part of the reorganization, the company also set a single executive, Alison Tarrant,  in charge of all  sales of sponsorships and advertising integrations across all of its properties.

The person familiar with the company suggested the layoffs came after the restructuring resulted in some overlap among personnel.