The television industry has been bombarded with curveballs this year, from programming cancellations, delays and ad revenue evaporation prompted by Covid-19 to the acceleration of changing consumer habits. Now add another seismic shift to the list: an unprecedented changing of the guard in the upper echelons of television’s biggest companies.

Within the last three months, Disney, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia have all overhauled and restructured their organizations to position streaming at the center of their businesses. Even streaming native Netflix, which has had a better-than-expected year, has seen changes at the top of its television programming unit amid a streamlining that will put a larger focus on global programming. 

Jed Meyer, managing director, North America, says:

These are all pretty much necessary shifts that are happening that reflect changing consumer behavior. The way content is being distributed now and in the future is going to continue to change and evolve, and their businesses have to evolve as well.”


As reorganizations happen, media companies are promising advertisers unity and simplicity when it comes to planning, buying and partnerships. NBCUniversal has perhaps been most vocal with its plans to build a one-stop-shop across its platforms, but it’s happening everywhere as teams of all kinds become integrated. For companies known for managing their processes effectively, keeping that reputation requires a unification of workflows, tech stacks and other under-the-hood processes. As those projects continue, expect even more shifts.

As those changes continue, media companies must also grapple with retaining the institutional knowledge and long-standing rapport some departing executives may have with partners. In the increasingly cutthroat media business, deals can be contingent on the power of those relationships, Meyer said, which poses a risk.

He said:

The question every company has to balance when you’re trying to figure out what the future looks like is: how do you retain some of that domain knowledge, some of that institutional knowledge, while also making sure that you’re able to be agile enough to pivot to whatever the new normal is in terms of the consumer landscape, the advertiser landscape, the sales landscape?. And the jury’s out on that in terms of what the future looks like.”


To read the article in full in Adweek, click here.

First featured 29/10/2020.

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