WE Snags Ad Sales Veteran From NBC U

Jan 13, 2008  •  Post A Comment

WE tv has hired away a top sales executive from NBC Universal, a direct rival in the women’s market since its acquisition of Oxygen Media last year.
Scott Collins, who had been a VP and one of the senior sales executives for NBC Universal Cable’s top-rated USA Network and Sci Fi Channel, will start at WE later this month, sources said. He will report to Arlene Manos, president for national sales at Rainbow Media, WE’s parent.
A spokeswoman for WE declined to comment.
Mr. Collins could not be reached for comment. A message on his phone at NBC Universal said he no longer worked for the company and referred calls to other NBC Universal sales executives.
Mr. Collins was with Universal before it was acquired by NBC and also previously worked for CBS’ Eyemark/Group W syndication unit.
Rainbow previously had not had a top executive dedicated to WE. Last year, Helen Karas, a senior VP responsible for both WE and sister network AMC, left the company to join Ion Media Networks.
WE ranked 49th in total prime-time viewership among ad-supported cable networks during the fourth quarter. It was up 23% in the quarter but trailed its rivals SoapNet, 41st in total viewership; Oxygen, ranked 40th; Lifetime Movie Network, ranked 32nd; and category leader Lifetime, which ranked fifth.
Lifetime, which has been engaged in a lengthy search for a new head of ad sales, pulled in an estimated $684.2 million in gross ad revenues in 2007, according to SNL Kagan Research. Oxygen garnered about $137 million, while WE took in about $104 million.
Kagan estimates WE’s ad sales will rise to $121.2 million next year, a 16% gain.
When it took over Oxygen, NBC Universal said it planned to be aggressive on the ad sales front. It discussed looking for ways to form a network for advertisers seeking women—particularly young, upscale women—by selling a combination of Oxygen, Bravo, iVillage and the “Today” show.
But WE has been making strides of its own.
“I think WE has done great,” said SNL Kagan analyst Derek Baine. “They have almost doubled their ad revenue over the last four years and have a higher CPM than Lifetime or Oxygen.”
WE also has been ramping up its original programming. This month it is launching real estate series “Ugliest House on the Block” to go with shows such as “Bridezillas” and “Secret Lives of Women.” Last year, it launched a public affairs initiative, WE Vote ’08, to urge women to participate in the elections.

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