Alison Weissbrot
Jan 25, 2021

NBCUniversal shakes up ad sales department in “commitment to advertisers”

The new reorg includes tapping Josh Feldman as the first-ever global CMO for its advertising and partnerships group.

Josh Feldman, CMO, NBCU Advertising and Partnerships
Josh Feldman, CMO, NBCU Advertising and Partnerships

Entertainment is going the way of subscriptions, but NBCUniversal is committed to advertisers.

The media giant said Monday it has restructured its Advertising and Partnerships division to strengthen its offering for marketers.

The reorg includes promoting three executives: Josh Feldman will be the group’s first-ever global chief marketing officer, overseeing creative partnerships; Krishan Bhatia will become president and chief business officer, responsible for tech and product strategy and advanced ad sales; and Tom Winiarski will be president of platform monetization, overseeing sales. All will report to global advertising and partnerships chair Linda Yaccarino.

The new structure is the next step in NBCU’s “One Platform” strategy, launched at CES in 2020 to make it easier for advertisers to reach audiences across its portfolio through a unified tech platform.

“These three promotions reflect a renewed mandate for us to become the best possible partners in every single area we operate,” Yaccarino said in a note to staff. “And with your help, these leaders will continue to animate our vision and accelerate our progress in their areas of expertise.”

A new approach to the market

Global CMO isn’t a title typically found in media sales departments, but the position “shows our commitment to the advertising community,” Feldman said.

“If you look at where a lot of media companies are going right now, they're excluding advertisers,” he said. “We are keeping our doors open at all times for advertisers.”

In his role, Feldman will oversee NBCU’s entire creative partnerships division, which has expanded the past three years to include all marketing, creative, production, trade and commerce capabilities across NBCU’s brands.

His team is also responsible for NBCU’s B2B brand, including producing sales and investor events, as well as the upfronts. The group produced NBCU’s first-ever consumer-facing upfront last year with a live 30 Rock revival produced by Tina Fey in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our company always had scale, but it was separate divisions, brands and objectives of how things got done,” Feldman said. “For the first time, we have all of our marketing capabilities under the same roof. We’re now thinking holistically across our portfolio.”

Client relationships will be led by a “One Platform” marketing team, which will become a “new front door” into NBCU’s properties, from ad-supported content to theme parks, movie studios and offerings from parent Comcast, Feldman said.

“We get their RFPs and come back with suggestions to solve their problems,” he said.

Advertisers are seeking simplicity as they shift to buying audiences over channels, leading One Platform to see “very early big success cases” in the 2020 upfront, with “more clients interacting with [it] than we forecasted,” Feldman said.

More than added value

The creative partnerships team is focused on innovating the ad experience for consumers, who are increasingly opting out of ad-supported content.

The group launched a commerce division in November, including a partnership with PayPal that allows viewers to purchase products featured in ads directly from their TV screens. 

“NBCU now owns every layer of the purchase funnel,” Feldman said. “How do we make sure our marketing messages will resonate with consumers and break through the clutter?”

While Feldman said the creative partnership group does not compete with creative agencies and often partners with them, he wants his team to be “thought leaders in the creative community” in their own right.

The creative partnerships team held its first Creativity Summit last year, bringing together thought leaders from across the  industry, which it will host again later this year. The group was also recommended by the Ad Council to partner with the CDC on a series of COVID-19 PSAs last March, at the start of the pandemic.

In the past year, the creative partnerships team also worked with L’Oreal to develop a primetime special tied to their “Women of Worth” campaign, which supports women serving their communities. It also worked with the National Constitution Center to develop a special documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsberg that aired on Peacock.

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