Cavanagh Takes Over Ad Sales at Oxygen

Jun 17, 2007  •  Post A Comment

With its advertising revenue growing, Oxygen has consolidated its sales organization under Mary Jeanne Cavanagh.
Ad sales at the cable channel had been overseen by Lisa Gersh, Oxygen’s president and chief operating officer. The department will continue to report to Ms. Gersh, as do affiliate sales, operations, finance and public relations.
Ms. Gersh said Oxygen has spent the last three years building an ad sales team and that Ms. Cavanagh, who jumps to executive VP of ad sales from senior VP of national ad sales, had proven to be a strong leader. Ad revenue has tripled in the three years since the cable network began subscribing to Nielsen Media Research ratings.
“She’s taken the lead in integrating our sales division to include online and new platforms with great success,” Ms. Gersh said. “MJ is our not-so-secret weapon out there in the marketplace.”
The network will be hiring a vice president to replace Ms. Cavanagh as head of the eastern region. Karl Lewis, senior VP, regional ad sales, who had reported to Ms. Gersh, now will report to Ms. Cavanagh.
Ms. Cavanagh joined Oxygen in 2002 and previously worked for Oxygen founder Geraldine Laybourne at MTV Networks.
Oxygen, a network for women launched in 2000, was the 44th most-watched ad-supported cable channel during the first quarter. SNL Kagan projects Oxygen’s 2007 ad revenue will rise 11 percent to $107 million compared with last year.
Ms. Cavanagh said Oxygen will be focusing on a multiscreen approach to ad sales. Oxygen this year relaunched its online businesses, adding blogs and social networking to a Web site that had been little more than a promotional vehicle for the regular cable channel.
Oxygen has hired online sales staff and has been making deals with advertisers, including movie companies who are running trailers on Oxygen.com, Ms. Cavanagh said.
“We’re hoping during the upfront to do some multiplatform deals across all of our screens, and that includes VOD, mobile, on-air and online,” she said.
Oxygen’s ratings have been on the upswing thanks to new original programming including “Bad Girls” and “Fight Girls.”
Those shows also are changing the network’s demographic mix. While its core business is women age 18-49, the new shows are skewing younger, which means Oxygen can get attractive prices for women 18-34.
Some of the new shows are attracting audiences that are 30 percent to 35 percent men, which allows the channel to compete for brands interested in adults 18-49. The premiere of “Fight Girls” last week, for example, included spots from Bud Light, a sponsor rarely seen on women’s channels.


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