NBCU Moves Impact Digital Ops

LOS ANGELES Newly installed NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker announced his new cabinet Thursday, promoting three executives in a realignment of the conglomerate’s television and digital operations.

Beth Comstock, Marc Graboff and Jeff Gaspin are all taking on additional responsibilities under Zucker, who was appointed NBCU president and CEO this month by parent company General Electric. He succeeds Bob Wright, who continues as vice chairman at GE.

Comstock, previously president of digital media and market development, has shifted to the new position of president of integrated media, where she will extend her oversight to advertising sales.

Gaspin, whose title was president of cable entertainment, digital content and cross-network strategy, is now president of cable and digital content.

While Graboff remains president of NBCU Television, West Coast, his area of responsibility now expands to all aspects of NBC’s entertainment division, the television studio and the marketing division. NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly, NBCU TV Studio president Angela Bromstad and NBC Agency president/chief marketing officer John Miller now report solely to Graboff—instead of a split line of reporting to Graboff in business-related matters and Zucker on creative and programming concerns.

“With my new responsibilities, I am making some organizational adjustments to set us up for continued momentum and growth,” Zucker said. “Fortunately, we have a tremendous bench of skilled executives.”

The structural changes reflect more than Zucker reassigning his responsibilities at NBCU TV. The division was hit with a string of defections by senior execs late last year, including president and COO Randy Falco, who left to run AOL; David Zaslav, president of cable, domestic TV and new-media distribution, who left to run Discovery Communications; and president of advertising sales Keith Turner. Moreover, the conglomerate continues to adjust to advances in digital media while rebounding from broad cuts to its work force announced last year.

Comstock, who was considered a potential rival to Zucker for the top job when she came over from GE in December 2005, will now report to him with digital media and ad sales under her belt. Michael Pilot, who replaced Turner as president of advertising sales, now reports to her and takes on additional responsibilities as well. Barbara Blangiardi, senior vp strategic marketing and content innovation, now will report to Pilot.

Continuing to report to Comstock are George Kliavkoff, chief digital officer; Alan Wurtzel, president of research; and Deborah Fine, president of iVillage Properties.

Comstock sees folding ad sales into her new portfolio as the optimal way to respond to growing demand from advertisers for a set of marketing platforms that extend beyond television.

“What we’re trying to do by combining these groups together is take advantage of what we’re learning on the digital side and marrying it with the needs of marketers and agency clients,” she said.

Under Comstock’s direction, the realigned division will continue to expand the “NBC 360” offerings the company introduced at its last upfront. A renewed push to incorporate mobile offerings to TV and broadband likely will be in the offing.