NBC Universal Lays Off Ad Sales Staff

Recession 2008: Continuing Coverage of the Economic Impact on The Media Business

NBC Universal began notifying 30 ad sales staffers this week that they would be laid off as part of across the board cuts, according to an NBC source.

In October, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker told staffers that the company would be cutting spending by $500 million, about 3% of the company’s budget.  

Ad sales staff in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and New York were affected this week. Some of those executives were former Olympic sales staff others were lower level recent hires. Production and support staff were also part of the cuts. NBC Universal did not immediately respond for comment.

On Tuesday, General Electric warned that fourth quarter profit would be at the low end of guidance and said charges for restructuring were likely to be in excess of $1 billion. The company has been hit by the poor performance of its financial unit GE Capital. 

On Wednesday, Josh Howard, vice president of CNBC’s long form unit, indicated he would be leaving the network, according to sources. His unit has already been downsized.

The NBC Universal unit has already weathered multiple cut backs in the past two years.

In 2006, the media company announced a drastic reduction in staff under the guise of remaking NBC for the digital era, the program was called NBC 2.0. 

More recently the company said it would reduce costs by combining MSNBC and NBC News offices. Even profitable business channel CNBC was asked to axe 10% off its budget.