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Advanced Ad: NBCU Looks to Future Proof With Restructuring, In-House Optimization

New York — NBCUniversal is looking to future proof the company with the recent decisions to lay off staff and invest in advanced advertising, said Krishan Bhatia, executive VP, business operations and strategy, NBCUniversal.

“Media is going through an unbelievable time of change with that pace of change only accelerating," Bhatia told B&C senior content producer Jon Lafayette Thursday during the Advanced Advertising Summit, part of NYC Television Week. "I’ve been in this business now for 25 years and it’s never been as dynamic. And we all say that. It’s never been as dynamic and complex as it is today. And so all companies need to adapt to those changes and figure out ways for how to future proof themselves.”

Bhatia's comments came the same day it was announced that NBCUniversal would be laying off about 60 employees in the ad sales group. NBCU also announced Thursday that the company was investing millions of dollars into advanced advertising, bringing its optimization systems in-house.

Read More: Complete Coverage of NYC TV Week

“At times that means that organizations need to evolve and that people need to change and resource allocations need to change," said Bhatia, referring specifically to the layoffs. "And so those are tough days and chapters for all companies and we’re going through that like many other companies.”

The exec also detailed the three advertising areas the company is focusing on: audience graph, which is being contributed to the Open AP Consortium, the previously mentioned in-house optimizer, and the interoperability of the business with the ecosystem—what Bhatia called "making all of our inventory more API-able."

“We are not trying to reinvent the wheel," he said. "Where there is off-the-shelf technology or we can guide technology companies to create things that suit our business needs, we’re game. Where there’s not or where we believe it’s a strategic asset that we have to manage and evolve ourselves, is where we invest and create.”

NBCUniversal is seeing success with its products already, said Bhatia, citing the number of clients (500+) and the retention rate.

“If you look at the sheer scale of the number of categories and the number of advertisers and the repeat rate, those are two very fundamental metrics that I think make me confident,” he said.