Sky owner Comcast has promoted CNBC’s KC Sullivan to head a new global advertising and partnerships division, OnePlatform, that brings together NBCUniversal and Sky as a unified sales proposition for multinational clients.
Sullivan, who was most recently president and managing director of CNBC International, becomes president and managing director of global advertising and partnerships for OnePlatform.
Andrew Mortimer, who was previously director of client strategy at Sky Media, is to oversee the global partnerships team for both Sky and NBCUniversal as senior vice-president of global partnerships.
Max Raven, senior vice-president for CNBC International’s commercial agency Catalyst, will lead advertising and partnerships for global news, including "any future global news offerings from NBCUniversal and Sky", the company said.
Sullivan, Mortimer and Raven will continue to be based in London for the US-owned TV and cable giant.
Being based in London is "probably the best place for us", but it is not especially significant because OnePlatform already has similar-sized operations in New York, plus it has offices in Singapore and Shanghai, Sullivan said.
Comcast bought Sky for £30bn in 2018 and has previously said advanced advertising and global ad partnerships were a big opportunity for the two companies to share technology and expertise such as ad-targeting service AdSmart and a new global intelligence lab.
NBCUniversal’s ad sales team, which is led by Linda Yaccarino, and Sky Media, which is led by John Litster, continue to run operations in their respective markets.
The global OnePlatform division will "sit between the two organisations" and help clients "by taking a global strategy and then activating locally", Sullivan explained, noting that the global advertising and partnerships team operates in 150 markets and reaches 650 million households.
"I look at this team as additive and not stepping in on anybody’s current toes [in NBCUniversal or Sky]," he added.
"This global effort is about figuring out how do we find the incremental [benefit] between Sky and NBCUniversal, and how do we work together in a more collaborative way – all for the benefit of our audience and our partners?"
TV ad revenues have dived on both sides of the Atlantic because of the coronavirus slump, adding to pressure on broadcasters, which have had to contend with the rise of the tech giants and advertising-free streaming services. However, Sullivan said the combined NBCUniversal/Sky proposition still offered "uniqueness".
"When you listen to what CEOs and CMOs are saying, there is a lot of disruption happening in global business; they want transparency and trust, and they want help cutting through that clutter," he said.
"What we’re able to do is deliver scale, technology but also premium content together in a brand-safe way – and that’s a special equation."
Brands have been increasinglly focused on return on investment because of the virus crisis, Sullivan added.