NBCUniversal Goes Streaming-First in New Restructure

While the streaming boom hasn’t quite turned out to be the golden egg that companies thought it would back in the early days of the pandemic, we’re still seeing more and more entertainment companies restructure their organizations to adapt to the declines in linear TV and the growth of the streaming market. Now NBCUniversal has joined the fray. Brandon Blake, entertainment lawyer at Blake & Wang P.A, breaks down what we know.

Combined Brand/Agency Teams

As part of the restructuring efforts, NBCUniversal’s agency and brand teams will be combined, and they will be onboarding new infrastructure to target the small to medium enterprise market. These are companies that have traditionally been priced out of TV advertising, and are currently spending heavily on social media marketing- an interesting market to tap, indeed. It will also bring them into direct competition with tech giants like Meta and Google.

As a result of the structural changes, we will see a range of newly reworked (and even brand new) roles for many top execs within the company. They will also be creating a new ‘SMB Growth Team’ to further the efforts. We first saw this plan mentioned late last year, with some additions to Peacock aimed at introducing a ‘self-service’ ad platform for the streamer.

Expanding on the Key 2,000

The traditional linear TV marketing environment has been heavily dominated by the same few brands- think between 1,000-2,000. However, we have seen the wider advertising market- especially that on social media channels- vastly enlarge over the last decade, as more brands of all sizes attempt to boost their profile in a digital landscape. Without a lower entrypoint than the pricey spend of TV advertising, however, entertainment companies have been missing out on these small, but prolific, deals. As part of this innovation from NBCUniversal will come those promised ‘self-serve’ channels aimed at this market.

NBCUniversal also has a stake in the consortium planning to pool Live streaming viewership data and create new advertising ‘currencies’, due to launch at the 2024 Upfronts. This group also includes Paramount and Warner Bros Discovery. We’ve seen switches in the organizational makeup of both of these companies recently, too, all aimed at either combining linear and streaming advertising products, or outright boosting streaming in priority.

Disney, of course, led the charge into streaming-first models with an organizational shakeup in the 2021-2022 period, but with the DMED division that was created for that purpose now set to be dismantled, we have no real idea how their ad sales team will be shifting in coming months.  However, it likely won’t be axed altogether as an organizational strategy, given that they have a new ad-supported streaming tier to feed.

While the outright rush into streaming-over-all led by Disney probably wasn’t the right strategy, and that haste is now reaping its own repercussions, there’s no doubt that feeding ads into the streaming market will be a critical component of any entertainment company’s future plans. It will be well worth watching how this develops further.

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