A String of Former NBCU Execs Are Joining Big Tech Companies

Amazon global ad sales chief Krishan Bhatia
Krishan Bhatia is Amazon’s new global ad sales chief. Penske Media via Getty Images

Amazon (AMZN) continues to build out its advertising team after making the move to introduce ads to Prime Video for basic subscriptions. The tech giant’s latest addition is Krishan Bhatia, a former ad sales executive at NBCUniversal, who left last September after 18 years with the media company. In the newly created role of VP of global video advertising sales, Bhatia will be leading Amazon Prime Video’s advertising sales and Amazon’s other streaming offerings, including Twitch and Freevee. 

Bhatia is the latest in a string of former NBCUniversal executives who have joined tech companies that are making foray into the media business. Last month, Apple (AAPL) hired Joseph Cady, who previously served as head of advanced advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal, to join its advertising team. Apple’s streaming service Apple TV+ still does not have an ad-supported subscription yet, but the hire suggested an ad tier could be in the works. Cady was the last person to hold his role at NBCUniversal. 

Last year, Linda Yaccarino, the former NBCUniversal chair of global advertising, was hired by Elon Musk as CEO of X, formerly Twitter, as the tech billionaire looked for a media expert to turn around X’s slumping advertising business. Yaccarino’s impact has been difficult to assess because of Musk’s volatile relationship with X’s advertisers and his strong influence on key company decisions.    

Outside of advertising, Netflix also recently brought on a former NBCUniversal executive. The streaming giant in February hired Jeff Gaspin, who served as chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment from 2009 to 2011, to lead its unscripted series division.

Amazon has been making major ad hires from other media giants as well. In January the company brought on a former ad-tech chief from The Walt Disney Company, Jeremy Helfand, to lead global advertising at Prime Video.  

In a letter to shareholders this week, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy boasted about Prime Video’s potential after implementing ads for the platform’s 200 million monthly viewers, saying it can become a large and profitable business in its own right. Jassy noted that “streaming TV advertising is growing quickly and off to a strong start.”

Amazon’s advertising revenue grew 24 percent last year to $47 billion, which was driven mainly by sponsored ads. The e-commerce giant also spent almost $19 billion on content in 2023, an increase from $16.6 billion the year prior. 

Amazon’s New Video Ad Chief Is the Latest Former NBCUniversal Exec to Join Big Tech

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