In a significant development within the media industry, Krishan Bhatia, a key figure in NBCUniversal’s innovative forays into advertising revenue, has announced his departure from the company. Bhatia, who played a pivotal role in shaping new revenue systems and infrastructure at NBCUniversal’s ad-sales unit, will exit at the close of 2023.
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Bhatia’s tenure at NBCUniversal was marked by ambitious efforts to establish e-commerce and data partnerships with advertisers. These initiatives were championed during the leadership of Linda Yaccarino, the former head of ad sales who departed in May to assume the role of CEO at X, the rebranded Twitter. While NBCUniversal’s focus on these areas has somewhat dimmed since Yaccarino’s exit, the company maintains a strong interest in their development.
Mark Marshall, Chairman of Global Advertising and Partnerships at NBCUniversal, acknowledged Bhatia’s invaluable contributions, stating, “Krishan has been an integral leader for NBCUniversal’s Advertising and Partnerships division, making huge contributions to the growth of our business and helping shepherd our industry forward during critical times of change.” Marshall also commended Bhatia for assembling an outstanding leadership team.
Bhatia’s departure is part of a broader trend involving several senior executives from NBCUniversal’s advertising operations leaving the company. Joe Bennaroch, a corporate communications executive, followed Yaccarino to Twitter, and veteran ad-sales executive Carrie Stimmel also made the move to Twitter. While Bennaroch praised Bhatia’s business acumen, it remains to be seen whether Bhatia will reunite with his former colleagues at Twitter.
Notably, Bhatia was deeply involved in a committee backed by major U.S. media companies. This committee sought industry certification for new audience-measuring technology. Key backers of this initiative included Fox, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount Global, and TelevisaUnivision. The committee recently granted preliminary approval to technology from start-ups like Comscore, VideoAmp, and iSpot, which have been challenging Nielsen’s traditional dominance in audience tabulation within the media industry.
There is optimism within the media sector that more companies will join this initiative to standardize audience measurement technology across the industry. Bhatia previously extended an open invitation for others to participate, expressing hope that the entire industry would rally behind this important endeavor.
Krishan Bhatia’s impending departure from NBCUniversal marks the end of an era characterized by innovation and ambition in the realm of advertising revenue. As he moves on to new horizons, the industry will be watching closely to see where his digital-business expertise and multilingual skills lead him next, while NBCUniversal continues to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of advertising and partnerships.