Press release from Disney|ABC, Feb. 8, 2017:
To better leverage the scale and reach of Disney|ABC, Ben Sherwood, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney|ABC Television Group, today announced the creation of a portfolio-wide advertising sales division designed to more effectively service advertising clients. Respected advertising veteran Rita Ferro will lead the new organization.
In making the announcement, Sherwood said, “We are combining the unmatched power of the Disney|ABC portfolio of brands, franchises and shows to create a one-stop shop for our advertising clients. This new, simplified structure will create innovative and targeted opportunities that showcase the quality and reach of our content.”
In this new role, Ferro will oversee all advertising sales functions and ad revenue-generation strategies for the company’s domestic entertainment, news and kids linear and digital TV and radio businesses, including ABC Entertainment, ABC Daytime, ABC News, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney and Freeform. She will also continue to lead the integrated sales team for The Walt Disney Company’s online, mobile and social offerings. Ferro, who had previously served as executive vice president, Disney Media Sales and Marketing, will report to Bruce Rosenblum, president, Business Operations, Disney|ABC Television.
“Rita has done a tremendous job developing unparalleled relationships with clients and marketers and building the best kids and family sales team in the media industry,” said Rosenblum. “She’s a smart, strategic leader who works collaboratively with clients and internal partners, and has created innovative advertising and sponsorship opportunities across our portfolio of Disney-branded media offerings. Now she’ll harness those abilities on behalf of the entire organization.”
The new ad sales structure combines individual channel and brand expertise into core teams that will work in concert to strengthen our client offerings (listed in alphabetical order):
- Brand, Revenue & Yield Management – This team will optimize and manage business opportunities across the portfolio. In order to provide increased scale as consumer behavior shifts and multi-platform viewing opportunities continue to expand, this area will link to the content through dedicated daypart, programmatic and digital revenue teams. Debbie Richman, former senior vice president, Primetime Sales, ABC, will serve as executive vice president, Brand, Revenue & Yield Management, Disney|ABC, reporting to Ferro.
- Client & Audience Solutions – This team will develop specialized client & category-specific strategies and opportunities across the portfolio’s platforms. Utilizing marketplace and audience intelligence, the team will develop specific sales offerings designed to bring enhanced opportunity to clients. Laura Nathanson, former executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, Freeform, will serve as executive vice president, Client & Audience Solutions, Disney|ABC, reporting to Ferro.
- Sales and Marketing – This team will maximize linear and digital agency advertising opportunities across Disney|ABC and include a full service in-house creative agency with the ability to create branded entertainment and deploy big ideas for clients across programming assets. Debra O’Connell, former president, National TV Sales, ABC Owned Stations Group, will serve as executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, Disney|ABC, reporting to Ferro.
“It has been an honor to oversee our kids and family sales business, and I look forward to now working in concert across Disney|ABC as one unified sales team,” said Ferro. “It’s exciting to be in a position to deliver clients access to millions of engaged customers across our multitude of experiences, and have more opportunities to identify and create solutions that drive results. With such an amazing senior leadership team already in place, we’re able to hit the ground running.”
Named executive vice president, Disney Media Sales and Marketing for Disney Channels Worldwide in June 2010, Ferro has led integrated sales team that represents and maximizes advertising sales, marketing and promotions across The Walt Disney Company’s media platforms serving kids, moms and families, including its kid-driven, family-inclusive TV channels, its wide-range of online, mobile and social offerings, its kid- and mom-focused radio platform and its Multi-Cultural group. Those platforms included Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney and several Disney Online, Mobile and Social properties serving kids, families and/or women. Prior to this, Ferro worked with Disney Latin America, most recently as vice president, Advertising Sales, Disneymedia+. In 2015, Ferro was selected as part of Multichannel News’ Wonder Women — “Women to Watch.”
For five consecutive years (2012-16), Ferro has been named one of the Most Powerful and Influential Latinos by the Imagen Foundation.
Biographical Information for Senior Leadership Team (listed in alphabetical order):
- Laura Nathanson, executive vice president, Client & Audience Solutions, Disney|ABC, served as executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, Freeform, for the past 15 years. Previously Nathanson oversaw national sales as executive vice president, National Sales Manager for the ABC Television Network. Earlier she was executive vice president, Primetime Sales, ABC Television Network, a position she’d held since July 1999.
- Debra O’Connell, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, Disney|ABC, most recently served as president, National TV Sales, ABC Owned Stations Group since 2014. At ABC for nearly 20 years, O’Connell oversaw Multimedia Sales and Marketing for the division from 2006 to 2011. She has also served as VP of Marketing at WABC. She serves as the vice chairman of the IRTS Foundation (offering Access, Education, and Diversity in and for future media leaders), is a board member of the TVB (Television Bureau of Advertising), an executive member of the Nielsen Local Alliance committee, and a member of the IoTC (Internet of Things Consortium).
- Debbie Richman, executive vice president, Brand, Revenue & Yield Management, Disney|ABC, previously served as senior vice president, Primetime Sales, ABC Sales. Prior to joining ABC in 2010, she was executive vice president, ad sales for Lifetime Networks. Prior to joining Lifetime, Richman had been managing director, national broadcast, at Omincom’s OMD and also held various media positions at McCann-Erickson, Young & Rubicam and Ogilvy & Mather.