NBCUniversal ad boss Linda Yaccarino is taking on a larger role within the media conglomerate as global chairman of advertising and partnerships, the company announced on Monday.
The promotion, effective immediately, positions Yaccarino, who has been spearheading an initiative to create a single ad-buying system that spans TV and digital, to unite more parts of NBCU’s ad business.
Yaccarino previously was chairman of advertising and partnerships, managing the media company’s portfolio of linear networks like NBC, digital platforms like Peacock, distribution partnerships, and client relationships.
In her new role, she adds to her purview NBCU’s local ads, company-wide marketing strategies, and a new data-strategy team that she’s charged with building. She continues to report to CEO Jeff Shell.
As part of the change:
- Local ads will be added to One Platform, NBCU’s all-in-one ad-buying system, which Yaccarino leads. The team that sells ads across NBCU’s local-TV stations and regional-sports networks, run by local-sales revenue chief Frank Comerford, will report into Yaccarino.
- Yaccarino will oversee NBCU’s strategic initiatives, led by SVP Kathy Kelly-Brown. That includes NBCU’s Symphony marketing campaigns that rally the company around moments, like Peacock’s debut or the Olympic Games. Under Yaccarino’s oversight, the team will start talks with major advertisers about opening up Symphony, similar to the way it works with a “council” of Peacock sponsors to test ad formats for the streaming service.
- Yaccarino is building a data-strategy unit charged with bringing together research from across the organization to grow the company’s revenue. The team, which will be led by a data chief who has not yet been named, will work on creating unified anonymous identifies for NBCU audiences, using data to scale NBCU’s new shoppable ads, and using research to inform that ad experience, like reimagining what ads look like in movies on Peacock versus TV
Former Warner Bros. TV president Susan Rovner, who left the company Oct. 2, is heading to NBCUniversal to head up entertainment content for all platforms, the company said today. Her title is chairman, entertainment content of NBCUniversal television and streaming.
Rovner, who spent more than two decades at Warner Bros., will oversee programming for the entire NBCU portfolio, which includes broadcast network NBC, basic cable networks USA, Bravo, E!, Syfy, Oxygen and new streaming service Peacock. Her entertainment programming division consists of separate content groups for scripted, unscripted, late-night and alternative programming.
“Susan is the bold creative force we need as we rethink the future of our business,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCU television and streaming, in a statement. “Throughout this process I have been consistently impressed by her strong perspective, track record of success and passion for content. Susan joins a great team that is poised to begin a new era at NBCU.”
Even though news broke of Rovner’s new role in early September, and she announced her exit to Warner Bros. staff soon after, explaining in a memo that she was going “to start a new chapter in my career,” NBCUniversal had declined to confirm she would be joining the company until today.
“NBCU has a deep-rooted tradition of having the best programming from visionary creators, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to join this incredible organization as it builds on that legacy to head into the future,” said Rovner in a statement.
Nearly two months ago (Aug. 6), new NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell unveiled a major TV and streaming reorganization he had first teased during Comcast’s July earnings call. The new structure created three horizontally integrated units, all of which will report to Mark Lazarus, who was promoted in May as part of an
Rovner to oversee all entertainment programming decisions as part of new structure
NBCUniversal made it official on Monday, naming former Warner Bros. TV executive Susan Rovner as chairman of its entertainment programming division. She starts Monday.
Rovner will oversee all programming decisions at NBCU, including for scripted and unscripted content, late-night shows, and Peacock, its new streaming service. She’ll also be in charge of NBC’s slate of cable channels, including Bravo, E!, USA and Syfy, as well as first-run syndicated programming including “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”
Rovner’s hire is the last piece of NBCU’s new structure under CEO Jeff Shell, which reorganized the television side of the business into three parts: Direct to Consumer, Entertainment Programming and Entertainment Business. Peacock chief Matt Strauss runs the direct to consumer unit, while Frances Berwick heads up the Entertainment Business division, where she’ll work closely with Rovner. Both will report to Matt Lazarus, chairman of television and streaming.
“Susan is the bold creative force we need as we rethink the future of our business,” Lazarus said. “Throughout this process I have been consistently impressed by her strong perspective, track record of success and passion for content. Susan joins a great team that is poised to begin a new era at NBCU.”
Rovner left Warner Bros. TV last month after two decades, where she most recently served as co-president with Brett Paul. Rovner had been seen by many in Hollywood as a top contender to eventually takeover for Peter Roth as chairman of Warner Bros. Television. During Rovner’s tenure, WB produced hit series including “Riverdale,” “The Flash,” “Gotham,” “Westworld,” “Watchmen,” “You,” “Shrill” and “Ted Lasso.”
Shell has overhauled NBCU’s TV and streaming operations since taking over for Steve Burke in January, ousting Paul Telegdy
Susan Rovner is officially taking the reins as chairman of NBCUniversal television and streaming’s entertainment content, leading creative strategy for original content across NBC, Bravo, E!, Oxygen, Syfy, Universal Kids, USA and streaming service Peacock.
The longtime Warner Bros. Television exec, who was most recently co-president of the studio, will work closely with NBCU’s chairman of entertainment networks Frances Berwick and report to TV and streaming chairman Mark Lazarus. In addition to leading the teams that cover development and current programming for scripted, unscripted, late night and specials, Rovner will also oversee first-run syndication and manage relationships with studio partners, showrunners, producers and creative talent.
“Susan is the bold creative force we need as we rethink the future of our business,” said Lazarus. “Throughout this process I have been consistently impressed by her strong perspective, track record of success and passion for content. Susan joins a great team that is poised to begin a new era at NBCU.”
Rovner said she has “enormous respect” for Lazarus and NCU CEO Jeff Shell, the latter of whom stepped into the role at the start of the year, and looks forward to partnering with Berwick.
“NBCU has a deep-rooted tradition of having the best programming from visionary creators, and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to join this incredible organization as it builds on that legacy to head into the future,” said Rovner.
But amid a highly unusual time for the entertainment industry and the world at large, Rovner will face a number of headwinds on Day One — not least of all the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that is keeping much of the industry in limbo and throwing off regular programming cycles.
Cementing NBC’s Place in the Zeitgeist
With its millions of regular viewers and massive primetime reach to television screens across