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Berning Shuffles A&E Sales

Oct 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Mel Berning, executive VP of ad sales and marketing for A&E Television Networks, is reorganizing his sales force in recognition of the maturation of integrated marketing and the emerging importance of strategic research.

The integrated marketing business of AETN, which includes A&E, History Channel and The Biography Channel, has expanded under a special unit headed by senior VP Melinda McLaughin.

Under the new structure, integrated marketing will be the responsibility of A&E sales chief Peter Olsen and the head of History Channel sales, Amy Baker. They will both hold the title senior VP of sales and solutions.

“`Integrated’ is integrated into the way we sell every day,” Mr. Berning said.

Ms. McLaughlin was named senior VP of sales strategies and solutions, an area Mr. Berning said is becoming increasingly important. Her job will be to shift the priorities of A&E’s research department from tracking ratings figures to “looking for insights that can help us get at advertiser needs, advertiser objectives and better metrics,” Mr. Berning said. “We’re trying to replicate what she did with the integrated area.”

A&E is working on deals with a few advertisers that will use ad recall data from IAG Research to test new effective metrics, he said.

A number of advertisers have integrated their brands into shows including A&E series “Criss Angel Mindfreak,” “Inked,” “Random 1” and “Driving Force.” Advertisers are seeking ways to reinforce their traditional ad buys with in-program appearances that are hard to avoid by viewers who skip commercials using video digital recorders.

Having integrated deals work through the main part of the sales force will help A&E monitor their value. Mr. Berning said that almost every ad deal worth more than $1 million now contains an integrated component.

“We’re beginning to look at where it makes sense to be doing integration,” he said. “You have to be doing a certain critical volume on a deal for it to make sense to put in all of the added value and to do all of the extra work, both from our point of view and from the advertiser’s point of view.”

As part of the reorganization, Mr. Olsen and Ms. Baker will also add responsibility for the company’s regional sales offices in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles, in addition to the head office in New York.

The regional offices had reported to Macy Huwiler in Chicago. She has been named to the new position of senior VP of AETN National Business Development and will be in charge of finding new business.

Michael Peretz was promoted to senior VP of revenue management for AETN.