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Comcast restructures Peacock PR department, some executives to leave

Tiles for local news content appear on Comcast's streaming service Peacock.
Tiles for local news content appear on Comcast’s streaming service Peacock. (Graphic by The Desk)

Comcast’s entertainment subsidiary NBC Universal is restructuring the publicity and communications department for its direct-to-consumer streaming service Peacock, a move that will see the departures of two key executives in the future.

For at least three years, Peacock’s public relations and communications department has been a separate unit within NBC Universal, with near autonomy in its approach to marketing the Comcast-owned streaming service.

That is about to change. According to a report published by Deadline Hollywood on Friday, NBC Universal will transition Peacock’s communications team so key staffers report directly to Mark Lazarus, the chairman of NBC Universal Television and Streaming. The streaming service’s publicity department will report to Peacock’s Chief Marketing Officer Shannon Willett, Deadline said on Friday.

The move is intended to create further symmetry between NBC Universal’s streaming business and traditional media products. As part of the change, Peacock executives Lisa Scalzo and Lisa McGann will leave the company. Scalzo served as the executive vice president of communications for direct-to-consumer and international initiatives, while McGann was a senior vice president for communications at Peacock.

The publicity team will now work closer together with the entertainment teams at NBC Universal, Deadline said, a move that is not without some precedent: The teams worked together on marketing and communications-related initiatives when the NBC soap opera “Days of Our Lives” moved from the broadcast network to Peacock earlier this year.

The shuffle comes as Comcast has struggled to grow subscriptions and viewership at Peacock, which has lagged behind some of its peers, including the Walt Disney Company’s Disney Plus and Warner Bros Discovery’s HBO Max and Discovery Plus. The stagnant growth is unusual considering Comcast gives away access to Peacock’s premium tier to most Comcast video and Internet subscribers. The company is also running a deep discount on Peacock Premium, with new subscribers able to nab a full year of the service at $2 a month (normally, it costs $5 a month).

As of late June, Comcast said Peacock had around 13 million paying subscribers. By contrast, Disney Plus has around 44.5 million domestic subscribers, while HBO and HBO Max have more than 48 million subscribers.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).