The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

NBC layoffs impact 50 employees at Peacock

Nearly all of the affected positions are in the marketing department at the streaming service, which is in the process of reorganizing.

Nearly all of the affected positions are in the marketing department at the streaming service, which is in the process of reorganizing.

An app tile for Comcast's streaming service Peacock appears on a streaming television device. (Courtesy photo)
An app tile for Comcast’s streaming service Peacock appears on a streaming television device. (Courtesy photo)

Comcast’s general entertainment subsidiary NBC Universal has let go of around 50 employees who work on its streaming television service, Peacock.

The affected roles are primarily in the marketing department at Peacock, and comes as the streaming service works to restructure its marketing and promotions divisions under Chief Marketing Officer Shannon Willett.

The pink slips are going to both junior-level and senior-level employees at NBC Universal, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In a memo circulated to employees on Thursday, Willett said the restructuring was intended to help Peacock’s remaining staff “work smarter, bringing more expertise and strategy in-house, and move faster by breaking down silos and deepening collaboration across our team and with our key partners.”

Willett said Peacock’s marketing division will be organized around five key departments:

  • Brand Creative & Marketing
  • Growth and Lifecycle Marketing
  • Marketing Strategy, Planning, Analysis and Performance Media
  • Publicity, Events and Talent Engagement
  • Title Creative & Marketing

“We heard from many of you as well as our partners that our structure was complex, and are confident that this streamlined approach will help us simplify our processes, accelerate decision-making and expose us to a deeper array of marketing skill sets to learn and grow in our careers,” Willett wrote.

She continued: “As you may have heard, we have some colleagues leaving the company as a result of this restructure, and we have held discussions with these team members today.”

Willett said the restructuring will also involve hiring new team members in different positions, including some that will serve as senior executives within Peacock’s new marketing division. A source familiar with the new hiring put the number of potentially open positions at around two dozen. It wasn’t clear from Willett’s memo if laid off employees will have a chance to reapply for those positions, or if NBC Universal intends to look outside the company for new candidates.

NBC Universal is expected to offer more details about the new marketing structure at a town hall meeting Friday morning, according to the memo.

Like other media brands, NBC Universal has found itself in the middle of a very competitive direct-to-consumer industry where media companies are moving their best shows and films away from traditional linear television toward online options that are cheaper than cable or satellite.

Peacock has lagged behind some of its peers in overall growth, with Comcast reporting just 28 million global subscribers as of its third financial quarter of the year. By comparison, Paramount Global’s premium streaming service Paramount Plus has 63 million global subscribers, while Disney Plus counts over 112 million global subscribers.

Comcast charges $6 a month for access to Peacock Premium in the United States, which includes next-day episodes of NBC shows as well as films from Universal Pictures and Dreamworks, and some live news and sports content. A commercial-free version of Peacock costs $12 a month.

In parts of Europe where Comcast does not have a direct consumer business, Peacock’s content library is distributed through a service called Sky Showtime, which is operated as a joint venture with Paramount and includes shows and movies from Paramount’s TV and film brands.

Photo of author

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).