NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell sees considerable “choppiness” in the advertising business, but believes the increase in competition in ad-supported streaming is a “validation” of the model chosen for Peacock, the company’s 2-year old streaming service.
While he didn’t mention Netflix or Disney+ by name, both have announced their high-profile entry into ad-supported streaming, but Shell doesn’t see “any material impact” on Peacocks from increased competition.
More from Deadline
- Comcast Beats Wall Street Q2 Estimates But Peacock Premium Subscriber Levels Flat At 13M
- Paramount/Comcast JV SkyShowtime Snaps Up HBO Max, Disney Execs To Lead Strategy & Legal
- Corie Henson Set To Join NBCUniversal To Lead Unscripted Competition Programming
The exec delivered the comments during parent Comcast’s second-quarter earnings call with Wall Street analysts. The media giant edged analysts’ estimates for the quarter, but reported stagnation in its broadband business and at Peacock, which remains at 13 million paid subscribers and 27 million monthly active accounts. That result by the June 30 end of the quarter was roughly flat with the tally as of March 31, with the sideways movement attributed to comparisons with the prior quarter, when the Winter Olympics, the Super Bowl and the premiere of original drama Bel-Air drove the addition of 4 million paying subscribers.
NBCU Unscripted Chief Exec Jenny Groom Exits Post
Jenny Groom, the top executive at NBCUniveral's unscripted division, is leaving her position at the company, an individual with knowledge of the situation confirmed to TheWrap. Groom, who got her start as an NBC page, was made EVP of Entertainment Unscripted Content in 2020 after working at the network for nearly two decades. In her role, she headed up reality and competition series for NBC and Peacock under NBCU's Entertainment Television and Streaming portfolio, which also counts Bravo, E!, Oxygen, SYFY, Universal Kids and USA Network among its ranks.
The advertising market “continues to be choppy,” the CEO said. “It’s really segment by segment, though. Some segments are doing better, some are doing worse. We just finished the upfront … and the upfront was way better than we expected. So, there’s definitely some choppiness but nothing that traumatic.”
While NBCU’s ad revenue dipped 1% compared with the year-ago quarter, Shell noted that without NHL hockey included in the 2021 period (the company has since parted ways with pro hockey), ad revenue was up by low-single-digits — “which is better than some of the companies that have reported so far.” Categories like automotive are down due to inventory issues, while pharmaceuticals has surged with federal approval of several drugs, Shell noted.
NBCUniversal Taps Corie Henson to Lead Unscripted Programming
Corie Henson has been tapped to lead unscripted content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, filling the role vacated by Jenny Groom earlier this week. "I've always admired the NBCU unscripted portfolio - and grew up on Must See TV - so I'm thrilled by the opportunity to join this incredible team to nurture this slate of massively successful shows, take risks on developing new innovative programming, and, of course, continue championing the best producers in the business," Henson said in a statement Friday. In her role, Henson will oversee reality competition, talent competition and game show formats.
“On Peacock, we think we picked the right business strategy, which is kind of an extension of our existing business, based on dual revenue streams of subscriptions and advertising,” he said. While he didn’t specifically name-check Netflix or Disney+, both are due to add cheaper, ad-supported tiers in the coming months, joining Paramount, Fox and other media companies as well as tech players like Roku and Amazon. “I think everybody kind of moving in that direction is a validation of that business model,” Shell continued. “And as far as advertising in general, both linear and Peacock, we’re one of the largest advertisers out there, with over $10 billion of advertising, so people coming in at the levels they’re coming in, we don’t expect it to have any material impact on what we sell and how we do it. If anything, our scale gives us an increasing advantage.”
Shell again didn’t name names, but he stressed Peacock’s advantages in the political ad arena, which is about to swell with mid-term messages. Hulu in recent days got embroiled in controversy after it rejected — and then later accepted — Democratic ads mentioning issues like abortion and guns.
Former NHL veteran Jeff Tambellini named Seattle Kraken's Director of Player Development
The Seattle Kraken announced Tuesday evening that they have hired former NHL veteran Jeff Tambellini to be their Director of Player Development. With the expansion of their young prospect pool as a new franchise, the organization made the decision to bring on Tambellini in order to facilitate player growth and development and to “optimize” their resources. The team has also hired Matt Larke as a Skills Development Consultant and added that former Seattle goaltending coach Andrew Allen will remain with the team as a scout evaluating goalies.
“We expect a pretty strong season coming up,” Shell said when asked about political ad spending. “We’re uniquely positioned now with Peacock to take advantage of whatever a candidate wants to advertise and where. So, we expect some pretty strong results from Peacock in the fall as well as across the whole company.”
CFO Mike Cavanagh fielded an analyst question about the possibility of cutbacks given the range of macroeconomic challenges looming. He pointed to “strength” in the company’s balance sheet and cash flow and said it would enable Comcast to continue to invest in future growth. “We won’t be cutting muscle,” he said, though he acknowledged that “in tougher times” many companies go about “trimming some fat, but it will be very long-term-minded. … That doesn’t mean there won’t be tactical adjustments and belt-tightening.”
Best of Deadline
- 2022-23 Awards Season Calendar - Dates For The Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Guilds, Festivals & More
- Oscars 2023 Telecast And Nomination Dates Set
- NFL 2022 Schedule: Primetime TV Games, Thanksgiving Menu, Christmas Tripleheader & More
Click here to read the full article.