More than 50 positions in NBCUniversal’s advertising sales group are expected to be eliminated as the company works to allocate more resources to digital and other kinds of advertising
“From time to time we look across the business to ensure we’re best positioned to stay competitive in this rapidly changing marketplace. As a result, there will be some staffing changes within our advertising division,” the company said in a statement. “NBCUniversal is going through an effort to right size its business and allocate resources to future growth areas such as new developments in advanced advertising, automation and technology systems.” The cuts are expected to affect all areas of the divsion, according to a person familiar with the matter.
NBCUniversal, like many other media companies, is grappling to stay current with new technologies that have usurped the traditional ways that commercials associated with TV advertising are bought and sold. More advertisers are using data to pinpoint specific kids of audiences, then tapping new “programmatic” buying methods to snatch up digital inventory that accompanies streaming video. TV has long been sold as a broad-based medium, in which a single program beamed at a particular time and day, lures millions at a single moment. TV programs still do that, but a greater percentage of its audience is migrating to on-demand streaming, which creates hundreds of individual viewing sessions that both media outlets and advertisers are working desperately to monetize.
Revelations about the layoffs, reported previously by The Wall Street Journal, come just after the chairman of the company’s ad-sales and client partnerships division, Linda Yaccarino, shook up its executive ranks. Mark Marshall and Laura Molen were each named a president of the unit, and the company articulated a strategy of focusing on ways to get clients to buy broader packages of ad inventory across the company’s portfolio. Two other senior executives, Mike Rosen and Scott Schiller, were slated to leave the company as a result of the reorganization.
NBCU isn’t the only company shaking up its interactions with advertisers. Walt Disney Co. recently combined ad sales for ESPN and its portfolio of ABC and Disney cable networks – the first time the two divisions will not be sold separately. And 21stCentury Fox plans to put Marianne Gambelli, a veteran ad-sales executive who currently oversees ad sales for its Fox News unit, over the assets that will remain once Fox sells the bulk of its portfolio to Walt Disney, Meanwhile, both Turner, part of AT&T, and Viacom, have trimmed ad-sales staff in recent months.