Profile: Ben Price

Jun 3, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Senior VP, ad sales, Discovery Networks
Recent interesting deal: “We’re expanding our partnership efforts with the creation of Discovery Solutions, an integrated sales and marketing team. [One example is] `Ice Age’ and 20th Century Fox. The `Ice Age’ partnership was a two-night, two-network, prime-time promotion [Discovery Channel and Animal Planet] that ran in March to support the theatrical release of `Ice Age,’ and complementary programming ran across both networks. Movie-marketing partnerships with the studios are a relatively recession-proof category, and this was the first time we joined two of our networks in a movie-marketing partnership.
“The two nights were hosted by Ray Romano, who was the voice of Manny the Mammoth in the movie. We ran a `Dig It’ sweepstakes, offering a chance for winners to participate in Ice Age fossil explorations. We also tied in over 150 of our retail stores via posters and a custom-produced trailer that ran in-store.”
The next big thing: “We have a variety of cutting-edge initiatives that are either being launched now or are in development, which we refer to as the Next Generation of Discovery. [Discovery Networks CEO] John Hendricks is driving our expansion into these new areas, which include Discovery HD Theater, a 24-hour high-definition network that launches on June 17, and Discovery Sponsor Cinema, a new business aimed at securing advertising presence on emerging file-served TV systems.”
Is there anything you wish you had sold less of? “In this marketplace, that’s a simple answer for a sales guy. Frankly, there’s nothing I wish we’d sold less of.”
Is there anything you wish you had sold more of? “I’d like to have sold more breakout hits like TLC’s `Trading Spaces,’ a program that’s more than doubling TLC’s prime-time average audience delivery. Also, I’d like to have sold more of our newer networks, like Discovery Health Channel and BBC America, which are clearly enormous investment opportunities for advertisers.”
If you weren’t in media selling: “I think back to college when I wanted to be an oceanographer. Other than that, who wouldn’t want to be general manager of their favorite sports team? I’d be happy to be GM of the Dodgers.”