Apple Has Hired a Key NBCU Exec, a Sign of Its TV Ad Ambitions

Estimated read time 4 min read

Apple has been making a string of advertising hires, more signs of its ambitions to grow its TV ad business.

The latest big hire is Joseph Cady, a 14-year NBCUniversal ad exec whose most recent title was EVP of advanced advertising and partnerships, putting him in charge of data-driven and targeted TV advertising, Business Insider has learned. Cady also set up and oversaw NBCU’s partnerships with Amazon, Google, TikTok, and others. Earlier, he served in strategy and development roles. His exit closely follows that of his former boss, ex-key NBCU exec Krishan Bhatia, who left in September.

Cady is expected to work closely with Winston Crawford, who became Apple’s head of global ad sales in September, running the team that supports the Apple TV+ streamer and other Apple products. Crawford helped lead Apple’s Major League Soccer ad sales pitch with Todd Teresi, who leads Apple’s ads division.

Cady will also likely work closely with Lauren Fry, a TV and video ad sales veteran Apple hired in February 2023 as head of video ad sales. Her hire suggested the company could have ambitions for an ad-supported tier for Apple TV+ or an ad sales executive dedicated to the MLS and possibly the MLB.

Apple has also hired a handful of other people with TV ad experience to work on video ads, including:

Jason Brum, who joined the video ad sales team in June after several roles at programmatic TV company Xandr, as well as DirecTV, NBCUniversal, and others.

Chandler Taylor, who joined in September as a video ads account manager, from Peacock, per his LinkedIn.

Jacqueline Bleazey, who joined video advertising sales in October, from senior director of sponsorships and ad sales at FanDuel and ad agency roles before that, according to her LinkedIn.

These hires are the latest signs pointing to Apple’s plans for an advertising tier. It had its biggest presence yet at last year’s Cannes ad festival, the ad industry’s biggest confab of the year, contrasting with its usual low-key presence at industry events. Apple didn’t comment for this story.

Apple TV+’s advertising plans have stoked significant interest and speculation. It’s the only major streamer without an advertising tier, and since Netflix and Amazon have lately launched their own ad plans, many see it as inevitable that Apple will follow suit eventually and show ads alongside its hits like “Ted Lasso” and “The Morning Show.”

It already has laid some of the groundwork, having sold ads in its MLS games in 2023. It’s also viewed as a potential rival for the all-important NBA’s broadcast and streaming rights that are being negotiated.

In another clue about its ad plans, Apple was also building a demand-side platform, software that would let advertisers purchase ads across its ads and services using automation.

Apple also raised its monthly price in October to $9.99 from $6.99. That could pave the way for segmentation by letting it offer a cheaper ad-supported tier for the price-sensitive, as Netflix, Amazon, and others have done.

For advertisers, Apple TV+ is a small but highly-rated player that would let them reach an affluent viewing audience that has been off-limits to them.

Apple, with its nearly $3 trillion market cap, doesn’t need to sell video ads the way Netflix and other pure media companies do. On the other hand, its content budget reached an estimated $7 billion last year, per MoffettNathanson, and it’s a question of how long it will support its entertainment venture or at least tolerate heavy losses there.

If it moves into ads, Apple would have to give advertisers the table stakes audience data without compromising their long-held stance on protecting customer privacy. “You’re going to have to share some info,” said an ad industry veteran.