Cable Technology Feature Article
It's 'Hammer Time' at NBCU's Restructured Cable Division
By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor
NBCUniversal is rejiggering its cable division, adding a new focus on digital distribution and Hispanic content, as well as refocusing its post-Comcast (News - Alert) merger cable nets. The freshly named “Cable Entertainment Group” unit will be spearheaded by Bonnie Hammer, who is moving into the role of Cable Chief and will be responsible for a full 50 percent of NBCU’s operating cash flow.
After the NBCU and Comcast tie-up, the combined portfolio of networks was a tangle of oversight, split between Hammer, who was responsible for E!, G4, USA Network, Syfy, Cloo, Chiller, Wilshire and Universal Cable Prods, and NBCU Cable Executive Lauren Zalaznick, who headed up Bravo, Oxygen, Style, Sprout (News - Alert) and TV One. Hammer will now take over the entirety of the cable portfolio, while Zalaznick is moving to a newly created executive vice president position aimed at “innovation, digital, monetization and emerging technology.”
Zalaznick will play a critical role when it comes to expanded revenue streams; she will be the architect of NBCU’s ongoing TV Everywhere strategies (which it used to great effect during the Olympics), and digital distribution to over-the-top (OTT) players such as Amazon and Netflix. She’s also tasked with innovation when it comes to home entertainment windowing strategies for multiscreen and multiplatform releases. Additionally, NBCU digital properties Fandango and Daily Candy will continue to report to Zalaznick.
Her dedicated focus on digital distribution will also dovetail with a secondary area of expertise in the consumer products division, the company added, and she will remain involved with sales and marketing in the Integrated Media Group initiatives such as Women at NBCU and Hispanics at NBCU.
Speaking of the rapidly growing Hispanic front, former Univision CEO Joe Uva will assume another newly crafted role as chairman of Hispanic enterprises and content for the Telemundo and mun2 networks.
Uva was appointed "so our coverage better represents this shifting landscape of [50 million Hispanics]," NBCU CEO Steve Burke said. He will be tasked with extending NBCU’s Hispanic presence.
Burke added that these moves were born out of a need to streamline. “Now, more than ever, we need to simplify our organization and take advantage of the breadth of our assets," Burke said in a statement. "At the same time, we need to focus more on innovation and emerging technologies. These organization changes are designed to do just that."
Hammer and Zalaznick will begin their new roles effective immediately, and Uva will start on April 3.
Comcast is steadily consolidating its TV strategy into a business unit-led approach. Post-merger, it created the NBC News Group to act as an umbrella for NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC, while the NBC Sports Group is a rubric for NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo