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MTV Nets Shuffle Ad Sales Structure

Feb 26, 2007  •  Post A Comment

MTV Networks is reorganizing its advertising sales staff to make it easier to package various cable networks and digital offerings during sales calls. The reorganization comes as MTV Networks responds to pressure to generate more revenue from its online properties. Earlier this month, the company said it would cut 250 jobs as part of a plan to reallocate resources toward growing its digital business.

The size of the MTV Networks sales force is going to be cut slightly as personnel are redeployed. The idea is to put more emphasis on service and support so the salespeople can get out and sell, said an executive familiar with the plan.

Under the new structure, three executive VPs are expected to report to Hank Close, who was named president of U.S. ad sales for MTVN last year.

The three are:

  • Jim Perry, who is already responsible for most of the Nickelodeon Kids and family brands, including Nick at Nite;
  • Sean Moran, currently senior VP for ad sales at MTV, who will head a music group that includes MTV, VH1, MTV2, MTV TR3S, MTVU, MTV Classic, Logo and The N, a Nickelodeon channel aimed at older kids;
  • Jeff Lucas, now senior VP for ad sales at Comedy Central, who will head sales for an entertainment group that includes Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land and CMT.

Mr. Close was on vacation last week. An MTV Networks spokesman did not return calls.

As part of the reorganization, David Lawenda, senior VP for ad sales at Spike, is moving to take a similar position at VH1. Rick Beispel, senior VP, VH1 ad sales, is moving to a new business, a source said.

Under the new structure, there still will be senior executives responsible for sales at individual channels. MTV Networks is betting that putting those executives in groups reporting to Mr. Perry, Mr. Moran or Mr. Lucas will make creating multichannel and multiplatform deals easier.

It remains unclear how MTV Networks will organize sales of its non-television digital properties, such as XFire, Atom Entertainment, Neopets and gameTrailers.com.

One ad buyer said it appeared the new structure would streamline MTV Networks’ presentation of ideas that involve multiple channels and multiple digital assets.

Another senior ad buyer, John Swift, managing director of PHD U.S., said, “I think Hank has been trying to move the group toward having a deeper, richer conversation with their partners.”