The weakening ad market has NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) taking the cleaver to 30 ad sales positions, AdAge reports, citing unidentified sources. The layoffs are part of a $500 million cost savings plan outlined by Jeff Zucker, NBCU president and CEO, in October. While other TV companies are expected to announce layoffs in the near future, NBCU actually had a fairly positive Q3, as profits rose at the GE unit by 10 percent, largely thanks to success on the cable side and a big boost from its rights to this past summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
In spite of that, the broadcast business continues to struggle. The network’s ratings have fallen off 14 percent year-over-year, tying it for third place. Meanwhile, NBCU has been having trouble attracting marketers to fill Super Bowl ad space since selling 88 percent of the available spots in September, an NBC rep told AP last week.