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Latest NBCUI News


    January 28th, 2014

    So you’re excited that you’ve had a response from us and we’re interested in your profile. You’re sitting there waiting for the call to invite you for interview and then, BAM! You get an email asking to complete some psychometric tests. We know, it’s not the most romantic way to start a relationship.

    We get lots of questions about why we use tests in our recruitment processes so to separate fact from fiction, here are some answers to the most common:

    • Why do you use them? It’s an objective way for us to measure your capabilities, see how aligned you are to the required skill-set for the role and find the candidate with the best match to our organisation and culture – fairness is very important to us in our recruitment process. We would never look at the results in isolation though, but take into account the information you’ve provided through the application process as well.
    • How can I make sure I pass? When we use personality questionnaires, there are no right or wrong answers – so you can’t pass or fail. All that you can do is answer as honestly as possible, avoid spending too much time agonising over the questions and go with your gut instinct. Ability tests on the other hand, are a bit more black and white – answers are either right or wrong.To reach your full potential, it helps to practice as much as possible before you take the ‘real’ test. There are a number different practice sites online.
    • Is it better for me to go quickly or accurately? This is an interesting question. We would recommend that you work at the pace that allows you to get the most answers right. It also helps to think about the job you’re going for – would we prefer you to be accurate or is speed the most important?
    • How do you know that my friend hasn’t taken the online test? We don’t, but we wouldn’t recommend it as a strategy. There are a couple of reasons why. Mainly, if you don’t match up to the capabilities required for the role you’ve applied for, you’re unlikely to be successful in the job in the long-term. We genuinely want our employees to be happy and do well, and we’re sure you want the same for your career. Secondly, we often re-test when you come in to interview to validate the score – you don’t want to face that embarrassment.

    So, nothing to be afraid of, right? Right! Best thing to do is to ensure you’re in a quiet place where you’re not going to be interrupted and give it your all. If you’re right for us and we’re right for you, it’ll work out. Good luck!

    Tabata – Four minutes to get fit? Perfect!

    January 23rd, 2014

    Your blogger has had a rather excessive holiday seen. Far too much to eat (and drink), and very little exercise. Apparently your blogger is not the only one. Which means that millions of us will have made the traditional New Year’s resolution to pull up our gym socks and get fit.

    But how?

    Every year I make the resolution go get healthier, tone up, be more active. And every year I go to the gym every single day. For about a month. After that … not so much. My reasons for not attending are however, in my opinion, perfectly valid:

    • I work long hours. I don’t want to spend my downtime in a gym pushing weights, or running on treadmill that does, in fact, go nowhere…
    • and I certainly don’t want to spend it listening to some lycra’d sergeant major screaming at me in one ear whilst  the sound of dodgy house music stuns me in the other… all the while pretending to pedal up mount Everest.
    • Lastly, I have NO self-motivation, so forcing myself onto a rowing machine for an hour isn’t going to work. I need motivation!

    Fortunately, I may have the answer to this annual cycle of ennui: Tabata.

    Named after the Japanese Scientist who developed this regime, Tabata is a form of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Using clinical trials Professor Izumi Tabata produced a form of HIIT that allows individuals to get fitter, faster.

    Tabata is based on the principle of twenty seconds of really intense exercise followed by ten seconds of rest, repeated eight times. That’s a four minute workout. Four minutes. Less time than it takes this blogger to eat a quarter pounder with cheese.

    And thanks to the research done by Dr. Tabata, it’s been proven that one four minute Tabata routine gets me fitter than a whole hour on a cycling machine. On top of that, Tabata raises your metabolic rate to the extent that you’ll still be burning calories hours later.

    Last year, Tabata was launched by NBCUniversal’s Home Entertainment team across a number of UK Gyms. (Yes, the people who bring you Eddie Izzard don’t just make you laugh, they make you fit too). Our Home Entertainment team have a truly enviable track record in bringing a diverse portfolio of content to the consumer, and once again they have hit the mark in terms of offering a fitness product that suits the needs of the busy and the time poor. Spotting opportunities like this, despite it being way outside our “traditional” portfolio, is what makes the UPIE team so very, very good… but more on that in another blog…

    And if it’s good enough for the likes of Louis Smith, medal-winning Olympian AND Strictly Come Dancing winner, then I reckon it’s good enough for me. Now, where are those trainers I ‘misplaced’ last February?

    2013 – A Bumper Year for NBCUniversal International

    January 7th, 2014

    Happy New Year! We wish you all the best for 2014, wherever you may be.

    Without blowing our own trumpet oh, alright, just a bit, this feels like a good time to look back on a great year for our Film and TV businesses, and look at how these creators and distributors of content have thrived … and if you don’t know a whole lot about the different things we do, well now you can get the inside track!


    It was a landmark year for film production because, for the first time in its 101-year history, Universal Pictures International crossed the $2bn mark in the international box office. And it was the year of the sequels! The world went minion-made as Despicable Me 2 opened at No. 1 in 46 territories, while Fast & Furious 6 opened at No. 1 in 65 territories.

    In addition, our international film production arm (UPIP) witnessed their best slate ever with hits including Mama, Pitch Perfect (hands up if you now do horizontal running) and Foosball.

    And in home entertainment it was all systems go as we signed key deals with UK retailers such as WHSmith, Boots and Co-op as well as growing our catalogue share on 9 out of 11 territories. So now, you can enjoy NBCUniversal DVDs in more places!


    On the TV production side, we produced six series for US networks, including Dracula for NBC. Downton Abbey Series 4 received its highest rating for a premiere episode, and averaged an audience of 11.8 million viewers throughout the season. And Monkey Kingdom’s Made in Chelsea won a BAFTA award for Reality & Constructed Factual.

    On the channels side, Universal Networks International launched four TV channels: Universal Channel Germany; Telemundo Africa; Universal Channel Australia; and Syfy Australia. As well as that, our flagship brand, Universal Channel, underwent a huge global refresh, with the tagline “100% Characters” and some amazing new shows, like Bates Motel, Sleepy Hollow and Graceland. Syfy also did well, with the global premiere of Defiance in the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Asia and Latin America at the same time.

    International TV Distribution was just as busy, renegotiating long-term deals with broadcasters and platforms around the world, including in Japan, China, the Middlea East, Poland, The Netherlands and Germany, among others.

    Look out for our TV and Film content in 2014 – we are particularly looking forward to Pitch Perfect 2!

    Exciting news! NBCUniversal International Television Production launches a new division

    December 13th, 2013

    Well, the cat’s out of the bag, NBCUniversal International Television production is launching a brand new division , dedicated to unscripted program development. Wait a second – The Cat’s Out of the Bag? That sounds like some sort of game show…

    The new unit will be made up of two teams – one focused on those addictive, shiny-floor entertainment programs, and the other on top-notch factual entertainment formats. Based in London, it will sit alongside the existing unscripted production labels – Monkey Kingdom, Chocolate Media, Matchbox Pictures and Lark Productions.

    The unit will be headed up by David Mortimer, Senior Vice President of Factual & Entertainment, who joined us this May, and who was the brains behind the amazing Dragon’s Den. Too bad he already used that idea…

    David said, “By making a significant investment into development, we’re supercharging our unscripted television business.

    I believe that our unique approach of self-funded development will broker a more collaborative relationship with the broadcasters when piloting new ideas. Most of all, I’m looking forward to making some ground-breaking television.”

    Recruitment is under way, so get your thinking caps on – 8 out of 10 Dragons? Britain’s got the Voice Factor? Splash! On Ice? Oh, we do make ourselves chuckle.

    Augmented Movies

    December 11th, 2013

    Augmented reality is a hot topic right now across advertising media. It’s opened up the ability for any consumer facing business to engage their audience on a whole new, interactive level in the real world.

    For those not in the know, augmented reality is a real-time overlay of 3-D imagery on live camera footage – images come alive when viewed through augmented reality.

    There are, of course, a bunch of ways in which a business like ours could harness this kind of marketing. Conversations can be overheard throughout the NBCU offices on this very topic – “Can we offer people the chance to pose with virtual celebs from our movies and capture it on their smartphones as they leave the cinema?”, “It would be great if we could give people the opportunity to make impulse one-click purchases of cinema tickets!” and bringing this blog post right into the present, we kicked off interactive posters for DM2, allowing shoppers to personalise the on-screen creative featuring our favourite little yellow friends.

    This stuff is great because it marries the comfort of the physical with the wow factor of the digital so that together, they enhance one another. That said, outside of advertising, the view that digital media cannibalises traditional media sadly prevails.

    Taking this to a next step, how can our content benefit directly from augmented reality, not just in terms of how it is marketed, but in terms of how the audience experiences the content itself?

    The book ‘S’ by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst ( got me thinking recently; how can we take this concept of the reader having to first figure out how to go about reading the book and apply that to film and programming? Instead of leaflets, margin notes and inserts, are there digital assets we can develop that sit alongside the traditional movie, even in the cinema, to a similar end? Most important of all – would it work and would it sell?

    Pulitzer Prize-Winner David Remnick will join NBCUniversal’s Olympics Coverage

    December 10th, 2013

    We’re thrilled that the wonderful David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker magazine and all-round good guy, will be joining NBCUniversal’s coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

    Jim Bell, Executive Producer, NBC Olympics, said that, “David is a distinguished journalist who knows Russia very well and we’re excited to have his expertise on the host country for our Sochi coverage.”

    In slightly more random news, Sochi has an average February temperature of 8.3 °C (42.8 °F) and has a humid subtropical climate. This means it will be the warmest city to have ever hosted a Winter Olympic Games. We’ll take our sunscreen.

    The Weather Channel Unveils An Exciting New Brand Identity

    November 19th, 2013

    Established in 1982 and owned by NBCUniversal and investment firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital, The Weather Channel television network is received by more than 100 million households.

    Now, the channel has received a brand an on-air makeover including new show and weather graphics, virtual data sets, a new studio set, live-action talent IDs and a digital sidebar for HDTV viewers.

    Davi Clark, President of The Weather Channel said in a press release, “This is about simply tapping into the utter fascination we have for weather and the forces that shape this planet and bringing that to the forefront of everything we do,”

    He added: “As the biggest weather geeks out there, it is totally natural for us to obsess over how weather stories of all kinds are presented and shared.”

    Chris Taylor to lead Television operations in Australia and NZ

    November 18th, 2013

    The former Quickflix CEO will take charge of NBCUniversal International’s pay channels in Australia and New Zealand, in the newly created role of Vice President, International Television.

    Christine Fellowes, Managing Director, Universal Networks International APAC said, “Chris joins us at an exciting juncture for UNI in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, we recently completed brand refreshes for E! and Style and renewed our distribution with Foxtel securing basic carriage for our transformed Universal Channel – our flagship channel brand – and the launch of the global channel brand, Syfy. Our ambition is to develop our channels into multi-platform, entertainment and lifestyle brands that lead in their categories – and Chris’ ability to manage high-performing teams to deliver innovative campaigns will be critical to this achievement.”

    From January 1st 2014, Universal Networks International will operate five channels in Australia: Syfy (which replaces SF) , the rebranded Universal Channel, E!, 13th Street and Style . E! also airs in New Zealand.

    Focus On…Diva Universal in Asia Pacific

    November 18th, 2013

    Diva Universal is a feel good channel for women all over the world. Built around drama, chick flicks and reality shows, it brings great, uplifting entertainment.

    In Asia Pacific, Diva Universal is having a great year of new programmes – Chicago Fire, Dracula and Rookie Blue are making waves. But let’s look at an interesting new show that revamps the supermodel contest format, specifically for the region…

    SUPERMODELME Femme Fatale, which premiered on November 18th 2013, follows 12 models of Asian descent and this season will be shot in Hong Kong. Edgy, ground-breaking and one of the biggest brands in Asia’s fashion landscape, SUPERMODELME is now exclusively on Diva Universal for Season 4.

    David Gunson, VP, SEA Channels, Universal Networks International praised the format saying, “SUPERMODELME (is one) of the biggest brands associated with Asia’s fashions scene and Diva viewers will be keen to get an insider’s look into Asia’s glamorous world of fashion.”

    Universal Networks International secured the first-window rights of SUPERMODELME for the Asia region and we are so excited to be involved in this amazing show.

    International supermodel Lisa S will be back as host and resident judge, and we welcome back E! Entertainment Asia’s Dominic Lau and the famous Singapore-born and Thailand located model and actress Ase Wang.

    Follow Diva on Twitter and never miss a beat! @DivaUniversal

    A Record Breaking Year For Universal Studios Singapore!

    November 18th, 2013

    Universal Studios Singapore marked a bumper year in 2013, welcoming its 10 millionth visitor.

    The theme park opened in March 2010 to much fanfare, as a premier attraction at integrated resort Resorts World Sentosa. It boasts 23 exciting rides as well as a range of shows and other varied attractions.

    To mark the landmark visit, the lucky 10 millionth holiday maker, Singaporean Joanne Tan, was welcomed by actors dressed as Marilyn Monroe and Woody Woodpecker, and a host of other staff dressed as famous actors and cartoon characters. She also enjoyed an exclusive tour of the amusement park, gifts of theme park merchandise and a free dinner in the park.

    Universal Studios Singapore looks forward to 2014, and another great year of characters, fun and exclusive rides!