Oct 29, 2019

Scoop: NBC News adding digital jobs, but laying off some staffers

Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

NBC News Digital is expanding its staff by 20% over the next year, an addition of roughly 70 jobs across multiple departments — focused on growing its digital streaming service, Axios has learned.

The big picture: The changes are meant to refocus NBC News' video and reporting teams around daily news and custom content.

As a part of its digital revamp, the company will be sunsetting "NBC Left Field," the digital video studio it launched in 2017 and staff from that department will be laid off Tuesday but will be working until the end of the year.

  • These staffers will be able to apply for some of the new roles posting soon. Roughly a dozen staffers will be impacted.
  • It will also be discontinuing the MACH specific brand, which is the science and tech vertical that NBC launched in 2017, although it will add staffing and resources to its science, tech and climate coverage overall.

A new digital leadership team will also announced.

  • Catherine Kim will become Global Head of Digital News. She will be responsible for digital editorial efforts at NBC News, MSNBC and the upcoming global news service.
  • Ashley Parrish will become Head of Content Development and TODAY Digital.
  • Both executives are part of NBC News' leadership team, which consists of head of growth and operations Anna Magliocco, head of product and design Saleem Malkana, chief technology officer Kyri Sarantakos and EVP of digital for NBC News Group Chris Berend.

Between the lines: The staffing changes come as the company readies to grow its news streaming product, NBC News NOW, to 24 hours of live programming this spring. To accommodate that product and video changes, the company will launch a set of new teams.

  • “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.
  • "Video operations” team: Supporting end-to-end production of live and on-demand video across all teams and platforms.
  • Beefed-up "strategic content team" to make it more of a revamped custom content studio, that will focus on investments in commerce, mainly through its TODAY franchise, and other advertiser solutions across NBC Digital brands.

Editor’s note: NBC is an investor in Axios and Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, is a member of the Axios board. MSNBC & Axios engage in a weekday sponsored television appearance at 5:55am ET.

Go deeper

NBC News doubles down on Snap

Axios Visuals

Piggybacking off of the success of its daily Snapchat series "Stay Tuned," NBC News is launching another Snapchat show called "Stay Tuned Answers" with the same hosts, twice per week, sources tell Axios.

The big picture: NBC News execs have been vocal critics of Facebook — even though they're joining the Facebook News Tab — but have found lots of success in Snapchat.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

Anchor caught on tape claiming ABC News suppressed Epstein story

A protest group called "Hot Mess" holds up signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of a New York federal courthouse. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

ABC News anchor Amy Robach was caught on a hot mic claiming that her network suppressed a bombshell sex trafficking story about Jeffrey Epstein three years ago, according to a video published by right-wing activist group Project Veritas.

The big picture: Project Veritas has been criticized for producing deceptively edited videos that target mainstream media and liberal organizations. However, Robach did not deny the accuracy of the video and said in a statement that she was "caught in a private moment of frustration" after an interview she conducted with one of Epstein's accusers was not aired due to a lack of "sufficient corroborating evidence."

Go deeperArrowNov 5, 2019

First casualty in the streaming wars

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Sony is shutting down Playstation Vue — its digital live-television service — next January, the company said in a blog post. It's the first digital live TV package to shutter after a slew of such services launched over the past five years.

Why it matters: Media companies and distribution networks are all trying to find new ways to package up content for streaming, but none of them has a magic formula. Increasingly, their over-the-top services resemble the cable bundles they sought to overtake.

Go deeperArrowOct 30, 2019