Steve Kornacki Getting Expanded Role At NBCU

NBCUniversal Rolls Out New Ad Innovations

From augmented reality shopping experiences to “Choose Your Own Adventure” journeys, the new ad formats and products “offer marketers compelling ways to reach consumers around the world while driving interactivity for viewers,” the company says.

Susan Rovner Talks Peacock Plans, More

NBCUniversal’s new TV boss discusses the excitement and uncharted waters around her expansive role as she readies the company’s post-COVID upfront presentation. (Damon Casarez photo)

EARNINGS CALL

NBCU Rebounding As Comcast Cable Soars

Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh is bullish on 2Q prospects: “We expect healthy growth in distribution revenue to continue. We will have significantly more sporting events compared to last year, which should result in higher advertising revenue, but also a significant increase in sports-related programming and production costs.”

NBCU CEO Jeff Shell’s 2020 Pay Hits $16.5M

Comcast also disclosed $32.7 million in 2020 compensation for its chairman and CEO Brian Roberts.

NBCU Taps Abcarian To Lead Measurement & Impact

An advanced advertising veteran, Kelly Abcarian joins NBCUniversal from Nielsen to accelerate the company’s investment and development in cross-platform measurement and data capabilities.

NBCU Launches ‘Inspiring America’ Across Nets

NBCUniversal News Group launches Inspiring America as a multiplatform franchise that starts with a primetime television event honoring extraordinary individuals who have made an impact during these difficult times.

NBCU To Showcase New, Scaled Content, IP Opportunities At Upfront

The virtual event will premiere May 17, highlighting the company’s programming, scale and aggregation by taking marketers inside iconic shows across one platform.

‘Superstore’ Star Lauren Ash Signs Overall Deal With NBCUniversal

Younger Diginet Demos And Shoppable TV

TVNewsCheck‘s Michael Depp talks with Brian Weiss, president and GM of Tegna’s multicast networks, about diginets’ younger skewing audience, and with Evan Moore, VP of commerce partnerships at NBCUniversal, about the growing phenomenon of shoppable TV.

NBCU, Facebook Strike E-Commerce Partnership

NBCUniversal and Facebook unveiled a new partnership that will put e-commerce pitches from the TV company’s clients on Facebook and Instagram, part of an ongoing bid by the Comcast media conglomerate to cultivate a new set of advertising clients. Under the new pact, NBCUniversal e-commerce clients will be able to make outreach to users on Facebook and Instagram, utilizing content related to NBCUniversal’s shows and stars.

NBCU Shows Off Ad Tech Capabilities

NBCUniversal on Monday showed off how its technology can help marketers that want to sell products to the people watching its content. At its One21 event — NBCU unveiled relationships with a variety of industry players including Facebook, FreeWheel and the Trade Desk — and additional ways to take advantage of NBCU’s data, automation and commerce capabilities.

NBCU To Seek Primetime TV Rates For Streaming Peacock Ads

In what will likely be one of the fiercest haggles in the recent history of TV, NBCU will seek primetime TV rates for ads that run on its Peacock streaming-video service, says Laura Molen, president of advertising sales and partnerships, in an interview.  NBCU has invested heavily in Peacock, believes it gives advertisers the broad reach they need and has worked to make sure commercials on the service stand out, says Molen, noting Peacock runs only five minutes of ads per hour and features a host of special commercial formats.

NBCU Invites The Industry To Develop Together At ONE21

NBCUniversal has unveiled its inaugural speaker lineup and event themes for ONE21, what it calls “a first-of-its-kind global gathering that will redefine what it means to develop and build with the leading media companies. ONE21 will bring together a massive community of developers across all industries — from technologists to creators and more — to […]

‘Access Hollywood’ Spinoff ‘All Access’ Canceled

NBCUniversal’s Access Hollywood companion series All Access has been canceled after a year-and-a-half run. The half-hour entertainment news program, which featured Access Hollywood hosts Mario Lopez, Kit Hoover, Scott Evans and correspondent Sibley Scoles, debuted in September 2019.

Peacock Startup Lost $914 Million For Comcast

Comcast’s new streaming service Peacock lost $914 million in 2020, including intra-company charges, the company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Monday. Peacock, which launched on April 15, generated $118 million for the year, according to the filing. Comcast made the filing because it is changing the way it is accounting for some of its businesses.

Fallen King Of Cable TV Bets That Live Sports Can Stem Decline

Once an icon of cable TV’s money-minting powers, USA Network today symbolizes the industry’s long slide in the face of relentless cord cutting. Now, it’s becoming a crucial test of how much more cash can be wrung from the declining pay TV business.

NBCU Expands U.S. Addressable Footprint To 45M HHs

A new partnership with Charter Communications adds nearly 40% more households and expands inventory for marketers.

TVN FOCUS ON DIGITAL

TVN Focus On Digital | TV Station CMSs Streamline And Simplify

Content management systems are the workhorses of local stations’ digital operations. Executives from Tegna, NBCU, CBS, Gray, Nexstar and Fox have discovered that user simplicity and integrations for multiplatform distribution have become essential attributes. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.

NBCU’s Streaming Strategy Raise Prospect Of WarnerMedia Merger

As Netflix and Disney cement their leads over an array of rivals in the video streaming market, top executives at Comcast and its NBCUniversal arm are in a quandary. Only 11.3 million households regularly watch NBCU’s Peacock service, far fewer than use competing services, according to recent internal data. NBCU wants to ramp up Peacock’s growth, particularly among paying users, but without spending a lot of money. Its solution is to strike deals with other entertainment companies to broaden either Peacock’s programming or its distribution.

NBCU Launching One21 Developer Conference

The March 22 virtual event will convene creative professionals, marketers, developers, technologists, and entrepreneurs to focus on consumers, content and connection. It will offer insights, partnership opportunities, technology roadmap, commerce vision across Comcast NBCUniversal and Sky.

NBCUniversal Entertainment to Lay Off 50

Susan Rovner has finalized her Entertainment Content executive team on Tuesday, a few months after she joined NBCUniversal to lead its newly formed development unit. As part of today’s restructure, roughly 50 people will be leaving the company, with the majority coming from inside the division. There were additional cuts in scheduling, acquisitions and marketing.

NBCU Vows Auditions For Actors With Disabilities

NBCUniversal said Friday that actors with disabilities will be included in auditions for all new productions by the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, NBC network and Peacock streaming service. Above, actress Eileen Grubba in a scene from New Amsterdam.

NBC To Shut Down NBCSN By Year’s End

NBCUniversal is shutting down its sports cable channel NBCSN at the end of the year and migrating much of its programming to its sister general entertainment network USA, the company says.

Samsung’s Peacock Standoff With NBCU Shows Power Of TV Makers

As streaming TV becomes the default viewing option for Americans, the makers of streaming devices are taking the place of cable operators as gatekeepers, deciding what streaming services will be available to viewers. Increasingly the gatekeepers include not only Roku and Amazon but smart TV makers such as Samsung. NBCUniversal is learning that the hard way as it battles to get its Peacock service onto Samsung TVs.

Inside The Seismic Shifts In TV’s Top Jobs

As Hollywood tries to make sense of 2020’s sweeping changes in TV’s C-suites, streaming’s priority is the only constant.

Heather Olander, Alternative EVP, Leaves NBCU

Heather Olander, executive vice president of alternative development and programming for NBCUniversal’s USA Network, Syfy and Peacock, is exiting the company after nine years as part of the greater corporate restructuring of the last few months.

Frances Manfredi, Who Brought ‘The Office’ To Peacock, Exits NBCUniversal

The executive, who spearheaded numerous streaming deals for the company during her two-decade tenure, becomes the latest to depart as a result of the conglomerate’s restructuring.

NBCU May Move ‘The Office’ Behind Paywall

When NBCUniversal brings The Office to Peacock next month, it could be a major test of whether users are willing to pay for the ad-supported streaming service. The company is considering putting most seasons of the sitcom behind a paywall, according to people familiar with the matter, a bet that the move will increase subscriber revenue.

TVN TECH

TVN Tech | Tech Trends For ’21: COVID-Driven Shifts Extend

Trends driven by the pandemic are likely to persist into 2021 and beyond, while transitions to IP infrastructures will accelerate and aging on-prem infrastructure will give way to increased reliance on the cloud. NextGen TV will also likely pick up speed after COVID’s cooling effect on its rollout this year.

NBCU Expands Ad Resources For Local Marketers

It unifies all digital and streaming inventory to give local customers more targeted reach and scale. Premium opportunities across Peacock and Apple News are now open to all marketers.

FreeWheel, NBCU In Ad Selling Partnership

NBCUniversal is using FreeWheel’s AutoScheduler technology to automate and optimize linear ad decisioning across all NBCU properties.

NBCU Amps Up Cross-Media CRM With Salesforce

NBCUniversal is boosting its customer relationship management data efforts across all its media platforms through an expansion of its deal with Salesforce. Salesforce will help “democratize resources” — including insights and product knowledge — by investing in new technologies for NBCU’s client and media agencies, which will gain efficiency and transparency.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Analyst: WarnerMedia, NBCU Should Merge

“It is time for both AT&T and Comcast to abandon the fool’s gold of vertical integration of content and distribution and merge NBCUniversal with WarnerMedia,” LightShedPartners analyst Richard Greenfield argued last week. Will this vision actually become reality? “We doubt it,” he adds.

NBCU Layoffs Begin In Business Division

Sources say fewer than 5% of the total employees in Frances Berwick’s recently reorganized division will be affected. The cutbacks, which had been expected, will impact staffers that are VP level or below PR, marketing, acquisitions and finance. Another round of layoffs is expected to come early next year in Susan Rovner’s recently unveiled entertainment content unit.

Susan Rovner Sets Heads Of Scripted, Alternative, Latenight At NBCU

Lisa Katz, Rod Aissa, Jenny Groom, Katie Hockmeyer, Tracie Wilson and Jen Neal will each oversee a wide swath of original content for Peacock, NBC, Syfy, USA Network, Oxygen, Bravo, E! and Universal Kids as part of the company’s consolidation. Layoffs will be next.

NBCU Poised For TV-Streaming Unit Layoffs

The bulk of the projected layoffs stemming from NBCUniversal’s recent restructuring are starting next month, sources say. Nov. 12 is penciled in as the target date as company brass are eying mid-next month for the second wave of staff reductions to begin. The cuts will likely come in two waves, one in mid-November and one in late December, with as many as 150-300 employees affected.

John Pollak Exiting NBCU After Restructure

John Pollak, who oversaw sales of Universal Television Alternative Studios programming to buyers outside of NBC, is leaving the company. Pollak, who was EVP, creative affairs, Universal Television Alternative Studios, is leaving as part of two restructures within NBCUniversal.

TVN’S STATION GROUP OF THE YEAR

NBCLX Goes Bold For Next-Gen Audiences

NBCLX is NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ multiplatform lab for storytelling innovation, iterating across digital, diginets and OTT. It’s turning news conventions on their head in a bid to build loyal younger audiences. Above, LXNews hosts Ashley Holt and Nik Zecevic at its studio at KXAS Dallas.

Sky, NBCU Strike Deal For DreamWorks Animation Content