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NBCU Revamps Ad Sales to Boost Client Contact

NBCUniversal is reorganizing its advertising sales group to build relationships directly with advertisers and to bring its TV and digital staffers closer together.

Linda Yaccarino, NBCU chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships said clients were demanding more attention as they do bigger marketing partnerships with NBCU, particularly those that involved creating branded content.

“It’s a logical development in our portfolio strategy," Yaccarino said in an interview. “We didn’t have enough people doing it, or the right people."

The Client Partnership Group at NBCU ad sales under executive VP Ali Tarrant will focus on working with clients who want to take advantage of the company’s scale.

“This re-energized client partnership group will be better equipped to be the first and best resource for clients who want a more robust partnership with us,” Yaccarino said in a memo to staff.

Tarrant had also been involved in creating network-based solutions for clients. Those responsibilities will be moved to an expanded version of NBCU’s Content Innovation Agency. That unit will be headed by Scott Schiller, named general manager, business operations for the Content Innovation Agency. Schiller had been in charge of digital sales for NBCU.

In the new organization, digital sales staffers will be integrated into its TV sales groups, which are arranged by genre—lifestyle, news, Hispanic, entertainment and sports. The head of those units are unchanged. They will also continue to be the company’s primary contact with media buying agencies.

“All groups within ad sales will work across every platform and every screen. No one works on just one screen,” Yaccarino said. “We want to continue to stay ahead of this market that’s changing with such velocity.”

NBCU’s back office operations will also work on all screen and platforms. “Because our vast array of data-enabled products, paired with our sophisticated back-end technology and research capabilities for the foundation of the sales organization, our Research Strategy team and Systems and Operations team will become one group” under Krishan Bhatia, head of business operations and strategy. Bhatia previously had been responsible primarily for digital media but now will be responsible for TV networks as well.

Also converging are the sales planning, inventory management and account service units.

Yaccarino said the reorganization will not result in a reduction in staffing. ‘We will continue to invest in our people and capabilities, and amplify our unique, industry-leading content, data, and distribution assets,” Yaccarino said in the memo.

“These are the changes we need to make today, so we’re ready to deliver our clients' needs of tomorrow. We are investing in the areas that are critical to helping them make the connections they want with consumers: Content. Data. Distribution,” she said.

The sales team will have a Town Hall style meeting on Nov. 17 to discuss the changes.