NBC Digital began laying off employees this morning. According to insiders, about 4 out of a staff of 100-ish got the axe. NBC declined to comment. The prelude to the layoffs came a few weeks ago when Rob Hayes, EVP Digital Media for NBC, announced a division overhaul, in which four new executives were added to the digital team: Michael Martin, SVP, Product, Technology & Operations; Tom Blaxland, VP, Production; Eddie Lee, VP, Technology; and Ross Cox, VP, Product. In addition to those hires, Matt Allen and Trideev Dasgupta wee upped to VP, Digital Integrations and VP, Digital Business Development & Strategy, respectively, reporting to Ann McGowan, SVP, Digital Business Development & Strategy. Today’s layoffs are the result of that restructuring, insiders say.
It’s been a little more than a year since Hayes was named EVP, replacing longtime NBCUniversal digital chief Vivi Zigler who left the company. Hayes was among the former Showtime execs who joined NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt (former Showtime programming topper) at NBC. Hayes oversees the network’s day-to-day digital strategy and operations.
“It’s critical that we do everything possible to light up digital media in order to help rebuild the primetime schedule. And there’s no one better to lead this effort than Rob Hayes,” Greenblatt said at the time of Hayes’ hire, adding, “I saw the effect he had at Showtime firsthand, and it’s no accident that the pay network’s explosion coincided with its digital innovations.”
At Showtime Networks, Hayes served as SVP and GM, Digital Media, overseeing all things digital. He developed the network’s digital business strategy that included the first deals for premium television with iTunes, Amazon and Netflix, among others. During his tenure, the network enjoyed its greatest growth spurt from 12 million to more than 18 million subscribers.