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Profile: Michael Sakin

Apr 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Senior VP, advertising sales, Game Show Network.
Recent interesting deal: “Game Show Network teamed with M&Ms for a sponsorship in our most recent original program, `Whammy! The All-New Press Your Luck.’ The object of the game is for contestants to stop on the game board to win prizes and money without landing on the dreaded Whammy. M&Ms has product placement on the game board, and they give away a year’s supply of M&Ms as well as gift certificates to their store in Las Vegas. The game board itself is on screen about 15 minutes per episode. As part of the deal, GSN also created a special M&Ms Whammy. When a contestant lands on the sponsor screen, our animated Whammy lands in a bowl of M&Ms. While stuffing his face with M&Ms, the Whammy also wipes out that contestant’s winnings.”
The next big thing: “Everybody is talking about becoming `TiVo-proof.’ Whether it is TiVo, VCRs, the Internet or just flipping the channel during commercials, advertisers want to know that their message is being seen. So the next big thing is how networks are going to demonstrate that they have the answer to this question. At Game Show Network, we will have 26 hours of original programming a week in prime time that will have synch-to-broadcast/enhanced TV capabilities.
“Viewers can watch GSN on TV and play the game from home on their computer to win prizes. The key is that during a commercial break, the viewers earn bonus points toward their score for correctly answering targeted questions about the sponsor’s commercials. This also gives the advertiser an opportunity to ask key marketing questions of the viewers.”
Is there anything you wish you had sold less of? “Since the entire ad sales staff just started in January, the obvious answer is no. Since we all came from other cable networks, the staff’s answer would be less FX, less USA, less The Weather Channel, less Nick, less TV Land, less CNBC and less Lifetime.”
Is there anything you wish you had sold more of? ”I wish we would have sold more sponsors for our `Greed’ synch-to-broadcast opportunity in first quarter. It was a shame, since almost 30,000 viewers participated the first night, with a median age of 34.4.”
If you weren’t in sales? “I am a television addict. I was destined for a career in TV. A career in front of the camera is not an option, so I could see myself with a career in programming.”