Profile: David Epstein

Jun 17, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: Senior VP, programming and operations, Court TV. Mr. Epstein, formerly VP of prime-time planning and proposals at ABC, oversees pricing, inventory and operations for Court TV’s advertising sales department.
Recent interesting deal: “We have a program called `The Safety Challenge.’ Here’s a family-friendly show [that Court TV has sold out for two consecutive quarters], which allows us to integrate advertisers into everything from print [via Ladies Home Journal] to customized promotions and vignettes, to Court TV’s in-program product sponsorships. But in general, as head of pricing and operations I find there’s rarely a deal done that doesn’t have some new or different aspect to it with regard to price, mix, marketing opportunity or operational issue-or all of the above.”
The next big thing: “I think another year of disappointing broadcast ratings, especially after an upfront of increased spending and sellout at increased costs-per-thousand, will have its impact. It will lead advertisers back to finding the value in growing, competitively priced niche networks. And in my nearly unbiased opinion, Court TV-one of the best growth properties in cable and a network that is refining its brand to be more relevant to advertisers every day-is well positioned to take advantage of this.”
Is there anything you wish you had sold less of: “At ABC there was this little program called `The Runner.’ It had an exciting concept, big ratings potential and true sponsor integration opportunities. And the sales force sold the hell out of it. Now if they had only produced a show.”
Is there anything you wish you had sold more of: “Even though the scatter market has been healthy, any idiot with strong ratings would say that they would like to have sold more in the upfront last year. And I am certainly one of those.”
If you weren’t in media sales planning: “I’d like to breed and sell Boston terriers.”