Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

NBC Digital Boss George Kliavkoff Leaving

George Kliavkoff, NBC’s first chief digital officer and one of the brighter tech stars in Big Media, is leaving his job at the end of the year. CNET has the details:

After a little more than two years as NBC’s chief digital officer, Kliavkoff says he has accomplished the goals he set for himself and the company’s digital unit when he joined in August 2006. He is taking time off before jumping into his next project.

Kliavkoff, 41, has chosen to exercise an option in his contract and leave NBC at the end of the year but will remain available to CEO Jeff Zucker ‘during and after the transition,’ he said in an internal e-mail.

‘I believe in my heart that this is a best time to start, run, or invest in digital companies and I am very excited about moving on to my next challenge,’ Kliavkoff wrote.”

No idea if there’s a different back story, but it’s easy enough to accept this one at face value–this is an excellent time for Kliavkoff to leave. He’ll be going out on top, after having proved his ability to get a major media company to do good, smart stuff on the Web. How many other folks can say that?

Kliavkoff will primarily be remembered for launching the Hulu video site amid snickers from … just about everybody, and proving them wrong. At the very least, the JV between GE Universal’s (GE) NBC and News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox has been an operational success, which has given the two companies leverage when they negotiate with the likes of Google’s (GOOG) YouTube and Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes. (News Corp. is the owner of Dow Jones and this Web site.)

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald