Comcast Winds Down NBCU Digital Studio; Online To Emphasize Current Shows

Cameron Death, NBC

NBC Universal (NSDQ: CMCSA) Digital Studio, three-year-old unit charged with creating original web content, will cease operations over the next few months, Ad Age reported. NBCU parent Comcast wants to shift its online resources to better support existing broadcast and cable programming. About 11 jobs are being eliminated, including that of that Cameron Death, who was promoted to SVP/GM last August.

Death, the former U.S. director of branded entertainment for *Microsoft*, had run the studio as a VP since its inception. The unit was set up to create original digital content for the company’s advertisers and distribute it across the various digital, cable and network platforms of NBC Universal.

NBCU wouldn’t comment on Death or the other positions at Digital Studio. A rep forwarded a statement, saying, “Going forward we plan to focus our digital efforts and investment on content that’s supportive of our on-air programs, providing our audience with additional content that further engages them in our shows. We’re proud of the accomplishments of The Digital Studio. This decision is simply about a change in strategy.”

Sources say that the 11 staffers may be offered other positions within Comcast/NBCU. The process of winding down the Digital Studio’s operations will take a few months, so the employees will not be immediately laid off, if it comes to that.

Meanwhile, NBCU is not stopping the gears from rolling on its last original web series, In Gayle Will Trust. A comedy about a suburban American Family Insurance agent (sponsored by American Family Insurance the real company), In Gayle We Trust has been given the go-ahead to run its full second season, which is wrapping up production, sources told paidContent.

When NBCU started the Digital Studios, there was no Hulu, which NBCU was one of the primary forces behind, just YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG). The thinking was that traditional media companies could create TV series for the web and recreate the early days of sponsored TV. But it turned out that, though the shows had some level of success, when it comes to online video, viewers want their TV shows on their digital devices. That thinking has influenced both NBCU and Comcast, as demand for some form of “TV Everywhere” has grown.

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