NBCU Embraces Syndicators

Aug 30, 2004  •  Post A Comment

The acquisition of Vivendi Universal’s U.S. entertainment assets by NBC appears to have brought NBC into the Syndicated Network Television Association fold.

Prior to the deal, under which the NBC and Universal syndication units were combined, NBC was one of the few SNTA holdouts, while Universal was a member. NBC has inherited Universal’s membership and indicates it will continue to work with the organization, which promotes advertising sales of syndicated programming.

Now SNTA also appears to be strongly lobbying Sony Pictures Television, the other major studio not part of the association, to sign up.

Last week, as NBC celebrated the launch of “The Jane Pauley Show,” Christopher Kager, executive VP of media sales for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution, said, “Our intentions are to support the organization.”

He said the NBC and Universal companies are still integrating their operations and that formalizing SNTA membership is on the agenda.

Mitch Burg, president of SNTA, said that since the NBC-Universal merger, SNTA has considered NBC a member.

“NBC is in our presentations right now and we’re working to get the information to put them up on the [SNTA] Web site,” Mr. Burg said. The Web site now carries the Universal logo and Universal shows including “Jerry Springer” and “Maury.” He expects the NBC shows to be posted over the next three weeks.

Mr. Burg said SNTA has a good relationship with Sony as well. “We know the people, they know us and we talk all the time,” he said.

A Sony spokeswoman declined to comment. Before the deal with Universal, NBC was in a joint media sales venture with MGM Domestic Television Distribution. That venture was discontinued in July. Mr. Burg noted that NBC/MGM participated in the last SNTA conference.

Wayne Friedman contributed to this report.