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NBCUniversal is the latest media and entertainment company to rework its organizational structure to account for a declining linear TV environment and a booming streaming ad market.
On Tuesday, NBCUniversal ad sales and partnerships chief Linda Yaccarino outlined a new structure that will combine brand and agency teams, and build infrastructure to try and bring in small- and medium-sized businesses that have traditionally been priced out of TV, but have spent heavily on platforms like Facebook and Google.
The changes include new or reworked roles for a variety of top executives, including Maggy Chan, who joined from the BBC last month and will oversee global ad sales and partnerships; Mark Marshall, who will lead a centralized national sales team; Frank Comerford, who will lead local ad strategy; and Dan Lovinger, who leads a sales team dedicated to the Olympics.
Meanwhile, Tom Winiarski’s team will be tasked with bridging linear and digital inventory, while Krishan Bhatia will oversee the company’s One Platform technology stack. Josh Feldman, who had been CMO of the division, will oversee the ad sales division’s events (like the upfronts, One23, Cannes appearances) as well as product innovations like shoppable ads.
Perhaps most notable is the push by Yaccarino’s division to take on Google and Meta in chasing smaller-dollar deals.
Yaccarino writes that the company is creating an “SMB Growth Team” specifically to pursue those types of partners, and is looking for someone to lead that team.
“This team will work alongside Mark Marshall and be completely focused on creating more resources so every sized business can advertise alongside the best content in the world,” Yaccarino writes. The team will also work with Comerford’s group.
The new SMB team will be building off a plan that Bhatia discussed with The Hollywood Reporter late last year, with Peacock planning a self-service ad platform for smaller marketers this year.
“In the past, television was the domain of maybe 1,000 to 2,000 marketers,” Bhatia told THR at the time. “We have a whole ecosystem of other marketers that are direct to consumer brands, e-commerce brands, performance marketers, local businesses, that buy media because they obviously need to drive their business, but they measure it in a different way. And they need a lower entry point. And they need tools and capabilities that are more self-serve.”
The NBCUniversal shake-up is the latest in a line of changes across the ad sales business over the past year.
NBCUniversal is part of a consortium that includes Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery that plans to pool streaming viewership data to help facilitate the launch of multiple currencies for the 2024 upfront.
And other companies have been reorganizing as well.
Warner Bros. Discovery restructured under ad sales chief Jon Steinlauf, who merged the legacy Discovery and WarnerMedia teams with an emphasis on both linear TV and streaming products like HBO Max.
At Paramount, John Halley took over the ad sales division promising to merge the linear assets (like CBS) with streaming businesses like Pluto and Paramount+.
Disney is expected to see a shake-up of its own in the coming weeks with CEO Bob Iger effectively dismantling the DMED division. It is not immediately clear how the ad sales and partnerships team will be restructured.
But with Disney+’s new ad-supported tier a top priority, streaming is likely only to take more of a center stage at the company.
And of course Netflix has jumped into the ad space with a splash, planning an upfront presentation, and poaching pair of high-profile Snap execs to lead their sales division.
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