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Robert Hayes Named Executive VP, Digital Media at NBC Entertainment; Vivi Zigler Exiting

NBC Entertainment has hired Robert Hayes to the newly created position of executive VP of digital media, where he will report to Len Fogge, president, NBC Entertainment marketing and digital.

Hayes, who previously held senior digital posts at Iconic Entertainment and Showtime Networks and was described by NBCU as “a recognized innovator in digital entertainment,” will oversee the network’s digital strategy and operations for, social media, online, mobile, apps, connected devices, multiplatform programming, product development, digital media business development and digital marketing.

The Hayes announcement did not mention Vivi Zigler, president of NBC Universal Digital Entertainment, but a spokesman for NBC told B&C via email that “Vivi has decided to leave NBC and will be announcing her future plans in a few weeks.”

In announcing Hayes’ appointment, Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment, and Ted Harbert, chairman, NBC Broadcasting, stressed the importance of digital media for the company's future and its attempts to revitalize its primetime lineup.
“It’s critical that we do everything possible to light up digital media in order to help rebuild the primetime schedule,” noted Greenblatt in a statement. “And there’s no one better to lead this effort than Rob Hayes. I saw the effect he had at Showtime firsthand, and it’s no accident that the pay network’s explosion coincided with its digital innovations.”

“As NBC expands its digital media reach,” added Harbert in another statement, “we want to take full advantage of the synergy between programming, marketing and digital media.”

While at Iconic Entertainment, where Hayes served as COO, he created premium VOD channels for YouTube and other over-the-top distributors. Earlier, as the head of Showtime Networks’ digital operations, NBCU credited Hayes with “developing robust multiplatform identities” for such shows as Dexter, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, Californication and The Tudors and for breaking “new ground” with its digital business strategy.

Hayes has also received numerous industry awards, including a 2010 Primetime Emmy for outstanding achievement in engineering development for Showtime Sports Interactive; 2008 and 2010 Interactive Media Primetime Emmy nominations; an iMedia Visionary Marketer of the Year Award; and CTAM and Promax awards.