NBC News announces investment in digital

NBC News announced increased investment in its digital properties Oct. 29, 2019.

  • In a memo sent to staff, Chris Berend, executive vice president of digital, announced it will add 70 new positions to the division.
  • The memo also noted that the division’s streaming service, NBC News Now, will expand, as previously announced, to 24 hours this coming “winter” or “spring.”
  • The network will also “evolve” its cover and distribution teams into a centralized group called news programming that will work with NBC News Digital, NBC News and MSNBC.
  • This team will work closely with the network’s existing video desk, which will also see growth.
  • NBC will invest in a dedicated video operations group to support live and video on demand production needs.
  • The network will also invest in expanding custom native advertising content as well as the ecommerce platform that “Today” has built out.
  • In order to support these changes, the network has announced some expanded responsibilities for execs, which are outlined in the full text of the memo below.
  • In a separate report from Axios that was not noted in the memo, NBC News Digital will also lay off about a dozen staffers as it shutters its Left Field digital video studio and Mach vertical.

Here’s the full text of the memo sent to NBC News employees:

Good morning,

I’d like to announce some important organizational growth that will begin today.

As we’ve shared, our mission is to be the global leader in digital news, and we are blessed with a combination of scale, hard-earned trust and a diversity of brands unmatched in our industry. From NBC News, MSNBC and TODAY to NBC Stay Tuned, NBC News NOW and, next year, a global news service, there is no other news organization in the world with the depth and breadth of our digital resources. To continue our growth, we have to connect those resources meaningfully and stay focused on our three priorities: Working cohesively as One NBC News, leading in Premium Video Experiences and making TODAY #1 in digital news and lifestyle.

With that in mind, we will be increasing our investment in NBC News Digital in 2020, including growing our staff by more than 70 new roles over the next year. The investment will be across our journalism, our products, our technology, and our business. Among many areas, those investments include:

NBC News NOW: We will expand our quickly-growing live OTT programming to 24 hours beginning this coming Winter/Spring, adding staffing, distribution, product enhancements, and making it a driver of our daily video inventory across platforms.

News Programming: We will evolve our cover and distribution teams into a centralized News Programming team, responsible for curating and alerting all text and video experiences for NBC News, MSNBC and, when it launches, the global news service. It will be closely tied to an investment in the Video Desk, in partnership with Newsgathering, to supply timely video moments.

Video Operations: We will be investing in a dedicated Video Operations group to support end-to-end production of live and VOD across all our teams. This will include technical and post-production functions with motion graphics and craft editing to serve our various daily efforts.

Custom Content and Commerce: We will invest more in strategic content production, actionable mobile and OTT insights, and our already-powerful TODAY commerce platform, and combine it all under one roof to better serve audiences with memorable storytelling and advertisers with innovative solutions.

To support this growth, we have expanded the responsibilities of our News Digital leadership team. Catherine Kim will now serve as Global Head of Digital News, responsible for the digital editorial efforts at NBC News, MSNBC and the upcoming global news service. Ashley Parrish will oversee our expanded custom content, commerce and TODAY efforts as Head of Content Development and TODAY Digital. Anna Magliocco, Head of Growth and Operations, Saleem Malkana, Head of Product and Design, and Kyri Sarantakos, Chief Technology Officer, complete our Digital senior leadership team.

This growth comes with a need to focus what we offer audiences. With a greater emphasis on daily news and custom content, our original news video efforts will center squarely on high-impact storytelling, seamlessly integrated with our feature reporting. We are re-focusing our News OV team toward that goal. We are also expanding science and climate reporting as core to our daily coverage, and will sunset the Mach brand to make that editorial proposition clear to audiences. Finally, at the end of this year we will phase out Left Field, a brand that has provided amazing storytelling and editorial innovation to NBC News. I want to sincerely thank the editors and producers who have shepherded this important journalism for the last few years.

Our senior leadership team will be working with you closely over the coming weeks to build out the digital organization around this vision and set us up to succeed. We’ve made significant progress in the last few years and I’m confident these changes will accelerate our success. Meanwhile, new positions across Digital will begin posting at our Careers page over the next 24 hours and continue over the coming weeks; and our global efforts have already begun posting with more to follow. I encourage you to check back often.

Thank you again to everyone who helped us get to where we are today and for your continued commitment to each other. I look forward to working with you on this next chapter for NBC News Digital.

Chris