NBCU 2.0: More Digital, Less Analog, And Fewer People

One day after one of Madison Avenue's biggest players - Interpublic - reorganized its media operations to better position itself for the future, one of America's biggest media companies has done the same. NBC Universal Thursday morning unveiled plans for "NBCU 2.0," a new organizational structure designed to better integrate the disparate content and distribution assets of the General Electric media unit and to keep it fleet of feet in a rapidly changing digital media landscape.

The company described the new version as part of a continuing "evolution" of NBC Universal, which over the past few years has focused on acquisitions including Vivendi Universal Entertainment, Telemundo and iVillage. The new iteration, said GE Vice Chairman and NBC Universal Chairman-CEO Bob Wright, will be to "redirect traditional analogue resources" toward high-growth digital areas and international expansion.

"Success in this business means quickly adjusting to and anticipating change," he said in a statement released early this morning. "This initiative is designed to help us exploit technology and focus our resources, as we continue our transformation into a digital media company."



As with Interpublic's reorganization on Wednesday, the NBC Universal restructuring seeks to reduce some administrative overhead. The company estimated that the new structure would reduce annual administrative and operating costs by $750 million by the end of 2008. That's the good part for GE's shareholders. The bad part for NBC Universal's workforce is that it will translate into the reduction of about 700 jobs, or about 5 percent of the company's total workforce.

NBC Universal said much of those savings would be reinvested into high growth areas, especially digital media opportunities. The company said it expects its digital media revenues to top $1 billion by 2009.

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