An interview with Neild Agius, Director of Streaming and Partnerships at NBCUniversal.

Neild Agius is a director of Streaming and Partnerships for media mega-giant NBCUniversal. Prior to joining NBCUniversal, he was a senior account executive at Google, and a senior account executive at Samsung ads. Neild was kind enough to answer some questions about media ad sales and about what it’s like to work for a legacy brand like NBCUniversal.  

How did you get your start in sales? When did you know it would be your career?

I spent the first 8 years of my career on the agency side (6 in Australia + 2 in the US) which is where I learned the fundamentals of digital planning, buying and strategy. 

When I moved to Los Angeles, I was working at Initiative and it became clear to me that the next phase of my career would be in sales. A handful of my friends were sellers and the environment was better suited to my professional and personal goals. I really liked the idea of managing your book of business, working on multiple accounts, and the competitive nature of having a goal and driving revenue. 

RadiumOne was the first to acknowledge that my agency background would be a valuable asset, and thankfully, I was able to prove them right. I spent a lot of time working with entertainment brands and was able to use this knowledge to build out movie and TV playbooks which proved to be very successful. 

You’ve had quite a career in the media/ad space. What are upsides to selling advertising? What are the downsides?

As a seller, there are several upsides to selling, including:

  1. Commission: Traditionally a commission-based job, which means that the more successful you are at selling, the more money you can make.
  2. Career growth: Success in selling can lead to career growth opportunities, including promotions to higher-level sales positions or management roles.
  3. Variety: Working with a variety of clients and industries, which can provide exposure to different markets and opportunities to develop new skills.
  4. Networking: Provide opportunities to network with clients and industry professionals, which can lead to other career opportunities and partnerships.
  5. Creativity: Often involves working with clients to develop creative and effective advertising campaigns, which can be a rewarding and fulfilling aspect of the job.

The only downside is if you’re not cut out for sales and you consistently miss your number, then you may have to deal with some tough conversations from your boss! 

NBC is a massive brand. The upsides are obvious. What are some of the challenges associated with selling for a legacy player? 

NBCUniversal is a broadcast dynasty. I’ve always worked for digital first companies so when I first started interviewing with to NBCU I had questions about the future of the company. In the 3.5yrs I’ve been here, it’s been amazing to see the direction the company has taken - we’ve launched a streaming platform (Peacock) and secured multiple digital partnerships, that being Apple News and ANZU (native in-game advertising) not to mention, we also have Fandango which allows us to identify and target moviegoers and entertainment fans! 

NBCU understands the future is in streaming and digital and we’ve restructured the company to allow us to excel  in these areas.  

What does a typical work day look like for you? Walk us through it. 

Being Australian, every good day starts with a great cup of coffee - shout out to Bluestone Lane for making that possible! Once caffeinated my days usually consist of the following:

  • Check emails 
  • Check-in with team 
  • Look at campaign performance and discuss optimization strategies 
  • 1-2 pitches per day 
  • Client research - always stay on top of what your clients and their competitors are doing in-market
  • Manage your pipeline - this is the key to success in sales. Know your numbers and always have a plan!

What's the one thing you’ve found that helps you be successful in sales? 

There’s multiple attributes required to be successful in sales but if I could narrow it down to one key factor its customer service! Put your clients first and be transparent. Take time to learn their business, ask your clients how they are KPI’d internally and then help them over achieve. If you can build trust with your clients, be accountable then everything else comes easy!

What are your long term career goals? Early retirement or future head of NBCUniversal? 

Lately I’ve spend a lot of time mentoring people. I’d like to move into a VP role and start managing my own team. Nothing I enjoy more than the team crushing numbers and kicking goals together! 

What is your favorite sales movie?

Without a doubt, Wolf of Wall Street. I stumbled across the book well in advance of the movie. I made half our agency read it and then convinced my boss to take us to a Jordan Belfort seminar when he toured Australia. You can’t go wrong with Scorsese and Di Caprio. 

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