NBCUniversal Sees Scattered Layoffs In Certain Divisions

NBCUniversal is experiencing scattered layoffs in select divisions as the belt-tightening outlined in 2022 starts to take effect.

Insiders disputed early accounts of the reductions being widespread and amounting to hundreds of positions. Instead, the tally is more in the dozens and does not involve every division. One additional element is the company’s voluntary retirement program process, which business units are factoring into their assessment of operations heading into 2023.

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The reductions come as media and tech companies confront a daunting economic landscape and general softness in the advertising market. While NBCU has thus far managed to buck the trend in terms of ad declines, it has acknowledged considering a plan to return the 10 p.m. hour of programming on NBC to local affiliates in the name of cost-cutting. That give-back scenario is on hold for now, sources told Deadline last month.

“We’re evaluating a lot of things,” CEO Jeff Shell said in a CNBC interview last October. “We’re looking to reallocate resources.”

In 2020, as it was launching Peacock, Comcast-owned NBCU joined its media peers in implementing a significant restructuring oriented around streaming. The overhaul resulted in hundreds of layoffs. Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCU Television & Streaming, called it an “aggressive move” but also a necessary one. “We have to build toward the future and that future is changing fast,” he said in 2021. In the wake of that restructuring, Bloomberg reported last September that the company was looking to take out as much as $1 billion in costs from its TV and streaming organization.

Shell reflected on the sequence of events in recent years during an appearance last month at a conference hosted by investment firm UBS. “I think we’re in a different place than our competitors,” he said. “We did a big restructuring back in 2020. We were the first to do it. We, unfortunately, lost a bunch of people. We took all the different parts of our TV business, and we consolidated them together. If you are in our company, there is no NBC. There is no USA It’s one TV group. It’s one programming group. It’s one publicity group.”

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