Is NBC Universal “NUTS” to have dropped the NBC from the name of its television studio?
Last week, the company renamed the studio Universal Media Studios (UMS), jettisoning the old NBC Universal Television Studio name and with it the “NUTS” nickname.
NBC Entertainment/UMS Co-Chairman Marc Graboff says the company wants to convey that the studio is open to projects designed for any distribution channel, old or new.
“We have to be more to the talent community than just a place to produce television shows,” he says.
But the more eye-catching change is the removal of the network call letters from the studio's name, especially in a market where branding becomes increasingly important as the media market becomes progressively segmented.
The move, for instance, comes in direct contrast to Disney's recent decision to rechristen its Touchstone Television as ABC Studios.
But Graboff says that is by design. NBCU desperately wants the word out that the studio is open to produce for other networks, which was called into question recently as the company considered and then decided against combining its network and studio into one entity.
With content ownership so important in this marketplace, NBCU apparently wants to remove any barriers it thinks may keep its studio projects from getting on-air anywhere, name included.
“We wanted to make it less NBC-centric, we wanted to make it clear we are a supplier to not just NBC platforms,” Graboff says of the studio, which has projects elsewhere, such as Fox hit drama House.
Graboff also says there is “absolutely nothing to be read into” the removal of the NBC name regarding any potential moves by parent company General Electric. Some analysts and investors have called for GE to spin off or sell NBCU, although GE has said that is not in the plans.
NBCU also added a new project in the form of Colombian telenovela Sin Tetas No Hay Paradiso (Without Breasts There is No Paradise). The studio will produce the English version for NBC, and an entirely separate version will be produced for Telemundo.
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