NBCU chief Zucker calls for change

By Cory Bergman Comment

In a speech at NATPE, NBCU CEO Jeff Zucker confirmed earlier reports that the network is cutting back on its pilot season and eliminating its annual upfront presentation. “We believe the big show is a vestige of the last decade. Every year, the big question at the upfront presentation of our new schedule is: How fast can the show be over?” Zucker said. NBCU will still sell upfront ad inventory, but through one-on-one meetings. The prevailing theme in all of this — which certainly isn’t new — is the need to “change the cost structures in the industry.” On the digital front, Zucker said the challenge with NBC.com and Hulu.com, for example, is “to effectively monetize them so that we do not end up trading analog dollars for digital pennies.” He said the industry’s next biggest challenge is to create a next-generation video advertising model.