NBC’s ad sales division has laid off a small number of ad sales employees as part of its recent reorganization.
No exact numbers were available, but the layoffs total about 3.5 percent of the staff, a person familiar with the situation told TheWrap. The layoffs came this week and are effective immediately.
The layoffs were “an unfortunate byproduct of streamlining the business,” the person said.
The reorganization came after a successful upfront sales season for NBC, in which it bucked the broadcast trend by booking $2.1 billion in advertising sales, up from $1.8 billion last year.
But NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said in September that NBC is “is significantly behind” its rivals in profitability and needs higher ratings and more ad sales. He said at a conference that ABC, CBS and Fox all make about $500 million to $1 billion more than NBC does annually, in part because NBC charges 20 percent less than CBS and Fox do for advertising due to lower ratings.
The situation may improve: This season, NBC is No. 1 in the key 18-49 demographic. But its ratings are significantly boosted by TV’s top show, “Sunday Night Football,” which airs only in the fall and early winter. NBC also led this time last season, but fell off in the winter.
The layoffs were first reported by Variety.