NBC Entertainment Names Robert Hayes to Lead Digital Media Push

The hire reunites NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt with another former Showtime colleague to "more closely align" the company's digital and programming strategies.

NBCUniversal's NBC Entertainment arm has named former Showtime executive Robert Hayes to the new position of executive vp digital media "to more closely align its digital and programming strategies."

The company said the executive shuffle, which reteams NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt with a former Showtime colleague, shows its "commitment to maximize its programming value in the digital marketplace and its reach through emerging technologies."

Vivi Zigler, who has been serving as NBCUniversal's digital president, agreed to leave the company in a mutual decision. In a statement, the company didn't mention her or her next career step.

Hayes will report to Len Fogge, president of NBC Entertainment marketing & digital.

Greenblatt and Ted Harbert, chairman of NBC Broadcasting, to whom Zigler had reported, emphasized the strategic importance of digital media in a competitive TV landscape.

“It’s critical that we do everything possible to light up digital media in order to help rebuild the primetime schedule. And there’s no one better to lead this effort than Rob Hayes,” said Greenblatt. “I saw the effect he had at Showtime firsthand, and it’s no accident that the pay network’s explosion coincided with its digital innovations.”

Added Harbert: “As NBC expands its digital media reach, we want to take full advantage of the synergy between programming, marketing and digital media, which the interface between Rob, Len and Bob represents.”

Hayes will oversee the network’s day-to-day digital strategy and operations, including NBC.com, social media, online, mobile/apps, connected devices and multiplatform programming, as well as digital media business development and digital marketing. Enhancing digital marketing opportunities for NBC shows including Smash, The Voice, Grimm, Up All Night and 30 Rock will be one of his jobs.

“Digital media is an essential component of NBC’s programming, marketing and monetization strategies,” said Fogge.

Hayes most recently served as COO at Iconic Entertainment, where he created premium VOD channels for YouTube.

Before that, he oversaw digital at Showtime Networks, where he developed a business strategy that included the first deals for premium TV with iTunes, Amazon and Netflix, among others.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai