NBCUniversal Broadcasting ChairmanTed Harbert is leaving the company and his duties are being divvied up. With his departure, NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus will expand duties and oversee the O&Os and affiliate relations, although those units will continued to be run by Valari Staab and Jean Dietze, respectively. NBCU execs George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy will assume Harbert’s oversight of NBC’s first-run syndication business, which is headed by Ed Swindler.
NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert says his company’s push to develop TVE is “an incredibly complex and expensive operation,” but when it’s in place “it will be a terrific experience for consumers.”
The network broadcasting chairman has long wanted to expand his portfolio; latenight and reality will continue to report to Paul Telegdy.
Thanks largely to NBC’s Ted Harbert, networks may push for a currency change bringing more rating points for them to sell in a DVR-expanding landscape. In media-buying argot, he wants to go from C3 as the principal negotiating metric to C7. Yet, if the switch were to happen tomorrow, how much more money would NBC and its brethren collect? Maybe less than expected.
It won’t happen this upfront, but Ted Harbert, the chairman of NBC Broadcasting, moved the ball down field Monday on what could become a major battle on Madison Avenue: whether to shift to C7 ratings. Harbert suggested a rise in time-shifted viewing means networks are undercompensated with the current ratings system that drives the national marketplace. “It’s time to consider a move to a C7 metric,” Harbert said at the NBC upfront presentation.
NBC Broadcasting Chairman Ted Harbert is not a fan of Dish Network’s new commercial-skipping device, the Auto Hop, which automatically deletes commercials from recorded primetime programming from the four big broadcast networks. “I think this is an attack on our ecosystem,” he said.
When Comcast first announced its plans a year ago to buy NBC Universal from General Electric, the experts felt it was the cable networks, not NBC and its television stations, that Comcast really wanted. There was across-the-board gnashing of teeth about what would happen to NBC. But Comcast executives assured regulators and tried to persuade the experts that that wasn’t the case. They really believed in broadcasting, they said. They looked forward to reinvigorating the business and restoring the Peacock’s colors. And over the past 12 months, Comcast has shown that it meant everything it said.
NBC strategy is unlike other retrans deals, in which TV stations are paid a fee by cable operators, satellite operators and telcos. Harbert wants NBC to negotiate those deals for all its affiliates and stations, essentially negotiating by proxy for all of them. He wants NBC to keep a set percentage of that money. “We believe that, with scale, we can maximize revenue,” he says. “I’m not sure I have the answer how to do that, yet. But I’m working on it.”
As the newly installed chairman of NBC Broadcasting, Ted Harbert will replace John Eck as the NBC representative on the NAB. Harbert is the natural choice for the job. At NBC, he is responsible for the O&Os as well as ad sales, affiliate relations and domestic syndication.